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Full text of "East Feliciana, Louisiana"

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Book - ^"^3^ 



PREFACE. 



EAST FELICIANA. 



RISE AND PROGRESS OF A COLONY OF THE CAROLINAS. 



Clinton, La., October, 5, 1889. 

Mr. Kilhourne : 

My Dear Sir— I contemplate a work germain to the title 
"role" in the performance of which I shall need the "Patriot- 
Democrat" as my coadjutor. 

Inasmuch as the census of 1890 will, as is customary, com- 
pile and publish all needed statistical information relating to our 
material progress, the occasion appears to favor a systematic, 
well-considered endeavor on our part to attract the gaze of the 
home-seekers to our large area of waste and uncultivated fields, 
which are laying idle for want of laborers, and which are dirt 
cheap and are easily renovated. 

A pamphlet containing a synopsis of the census statistics 
for East Feliciana would be brimful of valuable and reliable 
information; but would the average home-seeker read it unless 
it is accompanied by some pleasant pictures of the social life to 
which he is invited ? 

Those pictures, it is my design to draw in connection with a 
map of our parish by wards, giving to the history and genealogy, 
the social characteristics and progress of each geographical divi- 
sion, a separate sketch. As the sketches are drawn I venture to 
hope that the Patriot-Democrat and the other parish newspapers 
will aid in submitting them for inspection, amendment and revi- 
sion, to the people of the ward sketched. If the papers will 
help me to that extent before the close of 1890, I expect to have 
compiled all the historical and genealogical material for a more 
than usual interesting immigration pamphlet. 

It is universally conceded that we are badly in want of agri- 
cultural recruits, and it is almost as generally desired, while we 
will cordially welcome capital and labor from any quarter of the 
compass, that our agricultural recruits should be drawn from 
the ancient seats of the race which planted this colony early in 
this century. , , • 

In tracing back to the fountain head, it is as well to have it 
understood, that we make no pretension to a genealogical shield 
emblazoned with heraldic legends in panels of gules, argent or 
azure, resting not upon the fanciful creations of bards and his- 



-: / 






EAST FELICIANA PAST AXD PKESENT. 



toriaas — owing nothing to fabricated genealogies — nothing to. 
the miraculous apparitions which usually usher in the birth of 
states. 

Nevertheless we, have a line of ancestry for which we en- 
tertain affectionate reverence and cordial admiration, a line of 
ancestry, which unlike the shoddy and codfish aristocrats, we 
are anxious to trace out to its remotest antiquity. 

Vast schemes of colonization were generated in the older 
settlements when Mr. Jefferson made proclamation, in October, 
1803, that a boundless fertile unpopulated empire had been 
transferred the previous April by France to the United States. 
That famous state paper found eager readers among our imme- 
diate ancestors. A population clinging to the sides of the 
mountain ranges of the Carolinas and Southwestern Virginia, 
cultivating the narrow valleys of the Clinch and Holston, rugged 
as the crags; impetuous as the torrents of their native moun- 
tains, still full of the military spirit inspired by the camp fires 
and on the battlefields of the Revolutionary w^ar— still rehears- 
ing by the light of their pine torches, the shame of Camden 
and Guilford Courthouse and the glory of Saratoga, King's 
Mountain and Yorktown — ^still burning with patriotic fires 
which lighted Sumpter, Pickens, Laurens and all the heroic 
chiefs of cavalier and Huguenot strain the path to glory, and 
many a tory minion of King George the way to dusky death. 

On such a population, restless and ill at ease, environed by 
the dull monotonies of peace paying unwilling homage to the 
authority of the law — relying more on their own valor and trusty 
rifles for that protection rarely extended by the laws in those 
early days to segregated and remote communities. On such a 
population the stirring announcement that a boundless and 
fertile empire, larger than the original thirteen states, for which 
they had risked their lives and freely shed their blood, lay to the 
south of them waiting to be peopled; — And the promise of 
homes in the genial south — land dazzled their imaginations, 
as did the spoils of England, the restless imaginations of the 
bold Feudal Chieftains who rallied to the standard of William 
Duke of Normandy. 

Still hunting our genealogical source which is common to 
the population of each of the eight wards without groping in 
the dark, we can inquire a step farther back for the origin of the 
sturdy mountaineers, who colonized East Feliciana. We can go 
back to a settlement on the shores of Albemarle sound by the 
Cavaliers, fleeing from the cruelties and oppressions of Cromwell, 
— back to the settlement along the South Carolina sea coast by 
the persecuted Huguenots who after the siege of Rochelle, 
sought an asylum in the new world for the freedom of conCience 
denied them by Cardinal Richelieu and the Pope of Rome. 

When the sea coast hives of the Cavaliers in North Carolina 



\ 



EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT. 



and the Huguenots in South Carolina became overpopulated, 
they spread out in search of homes, the two Hues of home 
seekers crossed and commingled among the mountain ranges of 
the Carolinas. From the commingling of these two lines sprang 
Marion, Sumpter, Laurens and Pickens, and many of the great 
southern chiefs of the Revolutionary war; and from the com- 
mingling of these two historical lines, we claim lineal descent. 

If here amid the cain-brakes and vine clad forests of these 
southern wilds, we have constructed a civilization characterised 
by all the virtues of both lines of our haughty aristocratic fore- 
fathers, we arrogate to ourselves with pardonable pride some 
little credit. 

If under the enervating influence of southern heats, our 
progress and development has been slow, when contrasted with 
the more populous, faster moving northern societies still we 
claim to be the better, happier, purer civilization, because we have 
maintained uncontaminated and undefiled the moral and social 
characteristics of our patriotic high strung ancestors and be- 
cause no new fangled "ism" foreign or native has ever taken 
root in our societies which we have always jealously guarded 
against the poisonous preachings of visionary enthusiasts who 
come from abroad to teach them to be freer who know and feel 
that they are already as free as they ought to be — as free as they 
want to be. 

By these cautionary acts of vigilance we have maintained 
our civilization, socially and politically free from the turbulent 
teaching of Irish saloonists and free from the socialistic heresies 
of the beerguzzling Germans. Happy would it be for our 
country if the older and more trumpeted colonies of Jamestown, 
Plymouth Rock and Manhattan Island had preserved the civiliza- 
tion entrusted to them by their ancestors as jealously as we have 
guarded ours. 

I send the Patriot Democrat this preparatory chapter of the 
more extended work I have in contemplation, hoping it will not 
prove too long for your space. 

Yours truly, 

H. Skipwith. 



Clinton, La., October 10, 1889. 

I am enabled, Mr. Editor, to send you this week, a few 
authentic incidents relating to the earliest movement of 
population in Ward No. One, first in antiquity, first in 
fertility, first in population, and therefore entitled to be 
first of my series of AVard Sketches. Tradition, corrob- 
orated by vestiges of a decayed Fort, Mission House, 
Cemetery and Store House, tell of a small centre of popula- 



EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT. 



tion settled between Murdock's Ford on Thompson's Creek, and 
the great river and along the public thoroughfare leading 
from Baton Eouge, the metropolis of the political and ecclesi- 
astical Power of Spain, in West Florida to St. Francisville, 
and the Church of St. Francis. An old blotter or day book, of 
Cochran & Rhea, an adventurous firm doing business in Sep- 
tember, 1802, in the old store house now decayed, informs us 
from day to day until the close of 1803 who were the clients of 
that earliest commercial venture within the borders of our 
parish, and likewise discloses the names of many of the old pio- 
neers who first awakened the primeval forests of East Feliciana 
with the echoing thuds of the woodman's axe. 

Inasmuch as the junior partner of the old store on Thomp- 
son's Creek, by his marriage with one of old Dr. Raoul's (a 
French "Emigre") lovely daughters, founded a family which has 
played a prominent part in the material and social develop- 
ment of Ward One, and has moreover fastened his name and 
deeds conspicuously on the pages of history, I will devote a 
short paragraph, to keep green the memory of old Judge John 
Rhea, who in 1802 was merchant, planter and alcalde for Feli- 
ciana (an officer about the equivalent of parish judge in our 
system). The King of Spain's jurisdiction, as it was adminis- 
tered by his mild and benevolent old Anglo-Saxon alcalde, was 
doubtless equitable and paternal, and the people of that day 
lived contentedly under it. When, however, a few years later, 
the country began to fill up with the fiery Huguenot and cava- 
lier immigrants from the Caroliims, and loud protests against 
monarchial government, began to stir the hearts of the Anglo- 
American communities, I am afraid the King of Spain's old 
Anglo-Saxon alcalde, blinded by the hot love of liberty char- 
acteristic of his race, forgot his royal master at Madrid, and in 
1810 the alcalde figures prominently as member and president 
of the convention which founded and governed the free and 
sovereign State of West Florida. 

From the old blotter of Cochran & Rhea's Thompson 
Creek store, I select the names which I conjecture became per- 
manent factors in the advancing civilization of East Feliciana, 
many of them founding families which became identified with 
the development of the wards. While the old blotter rescues 
from oblivion the ancestors of many of the powerful and hon- 
ored families of our parish, I notice, nevertheless, some notable 
omissions of pioneer names of Ward No. One who contributed 
largely and faithfully to the social elevation and agricultural 
development of that modern garden of Eden. Those notable 
omissions 1 shall endeavor to supply after preparing an alpha- 
betical catalogue of the names of the clients of Cochran & 
Rhea, selected from the blotter of 1802 and 1803, to- wit: 



EAST FKI.U'IANA PAST AND PUKSENT. 



Adville Aitkens, Giles Andrews, A. Brozina, James Bran- 
non, Thomas Brannon, Asa Brashiers, Zadock Brashiers, Sam- 
uel Brashiers, Philip Brashiers, Henry Bradford, Sr., Henry- 
Bradford, Jr., Nathan Bradford, John Buck, Peter Busky, 
Baily Chaney, James J. Chaney, James Clarke, James Cooper, 
Madam Como, Thomas Carney, Sr., Thomas Carney, Jr., Daniel 
Carney, Guy Carney, John Carney, Sr., John Carney, Jr., Thom- 
as Carpenter, John Dortch, Doctor Flowers, John Gale, Llew- 
ellyn Colville Griffith, Baltor Hanmer, Battle Hanmer, 
Thomas Irwin, James Jackson, Watkins James, Michael Jones, 
Thomas Jones, John Keats, Peter Keller, Sr., Peter Keller, Jr., 
Nathan Kemper, Ira C. Kneeland, James Loudon, David Miller, 
William Miller, John McDonald, Manuel Montegudo, William 
Marbui-y, John Murdock, John McArthur, George Neville, Sy- 
bil Nash, John Nolan, Phoebe Owens, James Owens, Robei't 
Owens, John Patterson, Vincente Pintado, Policarpio Rogillio, 
Amos Richardson, Zachariah Richardson, Henry Richardson, 
Theophilus Richardson, William James Richardson, William 
Reames, William Stewart, John Stewart, David B. Stewart, 
Abraham Speers, John Simms, Hugh Smith, Laban Smith, 
Jeremiah Smith, Abraham Smith, W^illiam Taylor, Mary Taylor, 
Thomas Vaughan, Robert Vaughan, Thomas Williams. David 
W^hite, Elizabeth Waltman, David Waltman, William Walker, 
Thomas Young. 

Parsons Carter, whose name is not in the blotter, a scion 
of the Carters of Shirley Hall in old Virginia, migrated from 
Natchez, certainly before the country passed from under the 
Spanish jui'isdiction, and founded a home on the Baton Rouge 
and St. Francisville road, just where it emerges from Buhler's 
Plains. And nearly at the same time, Benjamin Kendrick, the 
maternal ancestor of the Flukers, began a clearing at Aspho- 
del, the j)resent ancestral seat of the Flukers. W^illliam D. 
Carter and Gen. Albert G. Carter lived near the oldest family 
seat, useful, public spirited citizens, warmly honored and loved 
by their neighbors. Many of the descendants of Gen. A. G. 
Carter still uphold the social prestige of the family, in close vi- 
cinity to their ancestral seat. The same honorable character- 
istics have developed in the line of old Mr. Ben Kendrick's 
de'^cendants. At a later day, there came into the ward Gen, 
Felix Huston, of Texas "Crab Orchard" fame, and his next 
neighbor, Capt. James N. Chambers, an "eleve" of West Point, 
who having married a daughter^of the rich and powerful Relfs, 
of New Orleans, opened a large plantation along the banks of 
Thompson's Creek, over the site of the old Fort, Mission House 
and store. These two comparatively new comers became able 
and zealous coadjutors of the Carters and Flukers and the pio- 
neers who figured on the old blotter of 1802. 

It is a merited tribute to the wonderful fertility and dura- 



8 "east FELICIANA past AND PRESENT." 

bility of the fine old ward, to emphasize the statement that 
notwithstanding its cultivation commenced with the present 
century there is scarcely an acre of land under fence that is 
not producing, in this year of grace, 1889, its bale of cotton. 

I found in the old blotter of Cochran & Rhea the follow- 
ing entry: "To Robert Owens, $1.00 for taking care of goods 
at the landing," and I am admonished by it that Ward No. One 
has a history which has a commercial side as well as a social 
and agricultural side, and its commercial development will 
form the staple of the sketch which I intend to send you next 
week. 



Clinton, La. October 9th, 1889. 

Very suggestive is the following entry from Cochran & 
Rhea's blotter of 1802, to wit; 

"To Robert Owens, $1.00 for taking care of goods at 
landing.'' 

Inasmuch as East Feliciana had before 1832 scarcely 
enough front on the Mississippi river to afford a vvharf for an 
ordinary sized flat buat, and that small river front was her only 
port for imports and exports in the da_\s of flat boats and keel 
boats, as carriers for the produce, transported by ponies, along 
bridle paths through the cane thickets, and raised by primitive 
"scooter" plow with wooden shovel boards and hoes, both of 
which were cherished because they had been "compagnons de 
voyage" all the way from the Carolinas and as further more the 
cotton production was limited to the consumption required by 
hand looms and spinning wheels, it stands to reason that the 
increase of the tides of commerce which flowed in and out of our 
only gate, signified when the area of production was increasing; 
that the laborers in the Eastern Wards had gathered into the 
harvest field in larger numbers, that the bridle paths had been 
widened, and that therefore the demand for flat and keel boats 
had increased. 

Tradition has kept us of the present generation well posted 
regarding the primitive methods of agriculture and commerce 
which supplied the simple wants of our ancestors. There is not 
a doubt that the store of Cochran and Rhea on Thompsons 
creek did receive its stock of western produce from descending 
flat boats at the "Landing" at the foot of the Bluffs, on the top 
of which at a late date was built the "Town of Poi-t Jackson," 
and it is equally apparent that the Thompsons creek store 
received its supplies of family groceries and general merchan- 
dise by ascending keel boats loaded by the New Orleans house 
of Cochran & Rhea and cordelled up stream. 



EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT.' 



As the area of production was enlarged in the Eastern por- 
tion of the parish, thex'e arose in the interior two formidable 
commercial rivals of the Thompsons creek store, Mr. William 
Silhman, the founder of the reuownd seat of education "The 
Female Colegiate Institute" of Clinton, and Mr. David Pipes, 
who migrated at an early date from Natchez. Both estabUshed 
a store in the Northeastern portion of the parish. Mr. David 
Pipes was the father of the present State Treasurer and of one 
of our members of the general assembly. 

The cheap and primitive methods of those old merchants, 
in conducting the agricultural and commercial affairs of the 
parish are worthy of a detailed description. Either Mr. Silli- 
man or Mr. Pipes would buy a flat bout and cargo moored at 
Port Jackson, flying at her peak the Wabash coat of arms an 
emblem which needed neither Hoosier nor Garter King at arms 
to interpret. Its realastic legend was symbolized by a flag staft" 
with a mammoth Irish potato, a big ear of corn, a golden hued 
apple and a side of bacon pendant, and at the topmost peak, a 
bottle of whiskey, rampant. This purchase was notified to all 
their clients through all the Eastern wilds, and a day appointed 
to send in the years catalogue for Western produce, and for 
the delivery of a corresponding amount of cotton at the "Land- 
ing " As the long train of wagons dumped their cotton bales, 
the drivers were called into the flat boat, and the articles desig- 
nated on the owner's list were loaded on his empty wagon; as 
the cotton passed down the Western produce passed up, and 
when the ark of the Wabash was discharged of its original cargo 
it was reloaded with cotton bales. The whole transaction would 
be completed in a few hours, and, than with Captain Silliman 
or Captain Pipes at her helm and with three or four stalwart 
Africans at the oars, the clumsy old Wabash "Broad Horn" 
would leave behind her the Bluffs of Port Jackson and soon be 
wafted out of sight by the ceaseless currents of the great river 
on their way to the Sea. Ordinarily the voyage was uneventful, 
but on one occasion, Captain Pipes tied his rich load of fleecy 
staple to the New Orleans shore, too late at night to make a sale 
of it, which added another night to the risk of his voyage. 
"That was the longest night and the most unpleasant I ever lived 
through" as the old gentleman used to tell. "I was awakened 
during the night by the whi tling of the tempest, the deafening 
roar of the wild waters and the violent bumping of the boat 
against the bank. I jumped out of my berth, gi-abbed a lighted 
pine torch, and forgetting my pants, in the hurry and excitement, 
rushed ashore yelling like a wild Indian to wake up the sleepy 
headed negroes. I danced almost a hornpipe up and down, 
brandishing the flambeau and yelling to wake up the sleeping 
Africans. At last one wave bigger than its fellows, lifted the 



10 "east FELICIANA PAST AND I'RESENT," 

old flat boat on the levee, and there she lay next morning,* like 
her ante type on mount Ararat. 

"After the storm abated and the waters became calm" con- 
tinued the narative of Capt. Pipes," I became conscious that I 
was wet as a drownded rat by the sprays from the surging waves, 
and moreover that I was a "sans calotte's for the first time." 

Pursuant to custom a sale of the flat boat and cargo was 
made to those merchant princes, Nathaniel and James Dick, the 
largest and almost the only cotton buyers in New Orleans, and a 
flat boat and cargo in those days passed to them without any 
labored figuring for freight, insu ranee, drayage, tare, sampling, 
scalage, storage or stealage. Under the influence of such 
cheap, honest and equitable methods, the country prospered, 
and as wealth poured in, production increased with magical 
celerity. 



COMMERCIA.L PROGRESS OF WARD NO. ONE. 

About 1832 the exports and imports through Port Jackson, 
had become too large for the carrying capacity of the slow go- 
ing flats and keels; the old wagon roads between the Amite 
River and the "Landing" were growing into desuetude, too slow 
for the fast ideas developed by an era of great prosperity. A 
railroad from Clinton to the river was projected; Port Jackson 
had too small a port and was too closely identified with the slow 
methods of the olden times. An Act of the Legislature of 1832 
wiped out famous old Port Jackson and a landing more commo- 
dious, with a larger front was captured by Statute from East 
Baton Rouge in anticipation of the vast streams of commerce 
which were to flow from the construction of the railroad from 
Clinton. In 1834 three regular steam packets were plying in 
the Port Hudson trade. "With the development of the new river 
port, came a new set of merchants under whose adventurous 
and enterprisiag spirit arose, parallel to the river, a densely 
crowded row of handsome and costly warehouses, stores, saloons 
and hotels, between which and the steamboats a long line of 
loaded country wagons plied almost incessantly. 

As memory calls up for review the familiar features and 
forms of the thrifty, bustling, scheming guild of old Port Hud- 
son merchants who were shaping, with so much sagacity, the 
commercial rise of their youug town by the side of the great 
river; and who were like skilfuU alchemists converting the 
streams of commerce which touched their wharves into golden 
bars; it would be singular if the burly figure of Robert W, 
Troth were to be omitted from the line under review. He was 
thff most intricate and involved character study, I ever met, and 



"east FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT." 11 

he was endowed with more conflicting qualities — more irrecon- 
cilable characteristics — more warriug forces than ever human 
tenement was equipped with. Nevertheless with many weak 
and inconsistent sides, Mr. Troth had no mean side. He was a 
liberal giver and ever had an open hand and heart for melting 
charity. He carried within his big burly frame two distinct 
individualities. Indisputably he was a dashing and bold devotee 
of the fascin itiug game of Draw Poker, a game then much in 
vogue at Port Hudson, and he was moreover when breathing 
the pure and qalm atmosphere of the church, a sober, devout 
and reverent christian, e irnestly sincere, I always thought. 

And besides these commendable traits, Brother Troth had 
ingratiated himself with the congregation as a fervid, eloquent, 
persuasive leader in prayer, who could lift his hearer in imagin- 
ation from above the petty schemes of this transitory sphere. 
But as soon as the fervor of his fiery exhortations cooled down — 
as soon as our impulsive brother could escape the espionage of 
the "rigid righteous" — as soon as he had left behind him the 
salutary influence of the church our brother, Alas ! would make 
an unconditional surrender to the Demon of Draw Poker ! 

Often have I watched Brother Bob impatiently pacing up 
and down the guards of our Sunday packets, with troubled 
frowning brow, revolving perhaps the knotty question, "How to 
break down the inconvenient barrier between Piety and Sunday 
Draw Poker f" at last the troubled, thoughtful brow would be- 
come smooth, and Bro. Troth, with a bland smile, and the ingen- 
uity of a skilled casuist, would announce as a maxim, incontro- 
vertible, "There must be somewhere a limit to the jurisdiction 
of the church. I tix it at three fathoms depth, just as Vattel 
fixes three miles from the shore as the limit of the jurisdiction 
of nations." Henceforth a small garue of "Draw" up in the 
Texas would receive from Brother Troth unreserved acquies- 
ence and approval and lively participation. 

Notwithstanding Brother Bob's manifold treasons to the 
church, perpetrat-d under the cloak of his ingenious "three 
fathoms" theory, his usefulness as a class leader continued unim- 
paired until one memorable night, when his avenging Nemesis 
overtook and assaulted him in the very sanctuary while clinging 
devotedly to the horns of the altar. And thus it happened: In 
the calm and peaceful twilight of a Sibbath evening, Bro. Troth, 
in the midst of one of his most fiery and stirring invocations, 
paused to pump a fresh supply of air into his exhausted lungs 
preparatory to a higher flight. During the ill-fated pause there 
came from one of the open windows a voice, in basso piyyfundo 
inquiring: "Who won that Big Pot at two o'clock this morn- 
ing ?" and from an opposite window there came in shrill, clear 
tones the incriminating answer, " Bob Troth \ Bob Troth !" 
Amid such embarrassing aspects, the orator lost the thread of 



12 *' EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PKESENT." 

his eloquent and fiery discourse; the sobs and tears of the ex- 
cited congregation gave way to smothered sniggers and indig- 
nant groans, and a star f fell that night from out of the galaxy of 
exhorters, "like Lucifer never to rise again." 



Having, in the preceding sketches of the Fird Ward of 
East Feliciana, shown how old Port Hudson rose rapidly in com- 
mercial importance as the shipping point for the products of a 
big, fertile back country, and as the distributing point for the 
western produce floated down en the broad horns out of tb-e Wa- 
bash and Ohio valleys, and having shown, how, by the foimation 
of a batture in front, its harbor has filled up, its wharves have 
disappeared under the deposits of the Mississippi's slime, bow 
its warehouses are rotting down, 'given over to the bats, snakes, 
and frogs, and how, alas! its commercial glory has faded, and its 
bustling merchants have become dust. It is a pleasure to turn 
to the rise of a compensating social and commercial centre, to 
supply the missing influences which old Port Hudson used to 
exercise on the growth of the First Ward. These compensating 
influences are developing rapidly in 

THE TOWN OF SLAUGHTER, 

a thriving, fast growing, incorporated town of two hundred 
houses, situated on both sides of the Louisville, New Orleans 
and Texas Railway, just on the dividing line between the First 
and Second Wards, 300 yards north of the line which divides 
East Feliciana from East Baton Rouge, 108 miles north of New 
Orleans, nineteen miles north of the capitnl of Louisiana, thirteen 
miles southwest of the seat of justice of East Feliciana, the point 
of jtmclion of the Woodmlle and Bayou Sara B. B. with the main 
trunk of the L. N. O. and T. R. R. Besides its railways centre- 
ing on it. Slaughter's geographical position is so favorable as to 
promise rapid future growth and a large aggregation of com- 
mercial capital and population. It holds under natural tribute 
without a competitor, all the country west of it, between it and 
the Mississippi, and by the same natural ties, all the country 
east of it, between it and the Amite river, and bids fair with such 
advantages to become a formidable rival to its older commercial 
comi)etitors, viz: Clinton, Bayou Sara, Port Hickey and 
Woodville. 

Slaughter is situated on a well-chosen rolling site with 
great natural advantages redounding perceptibly to the health 
and longevity of its bustling throng of energetic citizens; its 
natural drainage is so perfect that the heaviest downpours of 
rain, pass out of sight as if by magic, leaving its streets and side- 
walks clean and dry in a very few minutes. Its architecture, 
which bears the stamp of the useful and solid, consists of a num- 



"east FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT." 13 

ber of large and commodious warehouses, storehouses, the rail- 
road depot, and Mr. Oscar Howell's renowned Windsor Hotel, 
a Methodist and a Baptist church, Kernan Institute and two or 
three preparatory schools, some public and some private. And 
its suburbs are adorned by many handsome, pleasant private 
residences and cottages. 

When its tributary country, east and west, becomes fully 
developed by the inflow of immigrants and capital, its present 
productive capacity will soon increase ten-fold, and in that event 
it is not unreasonable to predict that Slaughter will grow iuto a 
populous and prosperous centre of commerce and population. 



Clinton, La.^ November 23, 1889. 

SKETCH OF THE SECOND WART). 

If a landscape painter, with pallette, brush and canvass, and 
an artist'^s eye for the beautiful in Nature, would take his stand 
on the highest hill of the dividing ridge between Comite river 
and Redwood creek, and half way between Pine Grove Church 
on the North, and Olive Branch Church and camp ground, on 
the South, his admiring gaze would be attracted on his right 
hand by a scope of country 17,500 acres in area, its surface 
marked by curvatures and undulations, as gentle as the waves 
of old Ocean, at peace in a calm; and in the trough of each 
of these graceful undulations he would decern the tops of the 
tall, waving ever green canes which fringe the margins of the 
dry bayous, marking their course towards the eastern or west- 
ern stream of living wnter, indicating to a practiced eje, deep 
pockets which serve as cisterns, beneath the umbrageous canes, 
•which carry a water supply failing only in periods of prolonged 
drouth. These same green curtains often conceal from view a 
rippling, gurgling dancing stream of living waters, fed by per- 
petual springs gushing out of the dividing range of hills. At 
the same glance he would behold a surface nearly equally divid- 
ed into forests, pastures and cultivated fields. In this ''coup 
d'oeil" he would find spread on his canvass one half of Ward 
Number Tico. 

To make a more faithful and complete picture he would 
paint on the wai'd^'s eastern boundary a small river, meandering 
through dense screens of canes and forest trees on its cease- 
less course towards the sea — ^i-eceiving invigorating contributions 
fi'om Widow's creek, Knighton's Branch and Olive Branch — 
watering and fertilizing along its wide margin of fertile valley, 
many generous acres, each, with its native, unaided forces 
capable of producing 500 lbs. of lint cotton, or 50 bbls. of corn, 
or 40 bushels of rice, or two hogsheads of sugar. Far away 



14 " EAST FELICIANA PAST AND l-RESENT ." 

to the South, he would paint a long line of slow-moving, cot- 
ton laden wagons toiling westward from Olive Branch Church 
and Camp Ground to the thriving little railroad town of Slaugh- 
ter. On the Ward's extreme Northern line he would bound 
the landscape with a long train of railroad cars, heavily laden 
with cotton bales piled as high as safe carrying would allow, 
flitting speedly from east to west, from beautiful Clinton to 
busy, growing Ethel. On its extieme tmsterii boundary he 
would spread upon his canvass heavy screens and curtains of 
canes and forest trees, denoting the rapid, winding movement 
of a large stream of running water, and paralel and close to 
the stream he wcuild paint the bustle and stir of a great rail- 
road, which has carried to market in one day Tweloe Thousand 
Bales of Cotton. 

And then continuing his line of vision by the aid of a 
powerful telescope he might take into his landscape the twelve 
miles of snow white fields of Ward No. One lying between the 
railroad and the Father of waters — the ever moving interminable 
lines of steam boats and barges, bearing to the sea the pro- 
ducts of the Pennsylvania and West Viroinia mines, the har- 
vests of eighteen powerful, prosperous and happy common- 
wealths; and carrying on its ascending lines back to St. Paul 
and Bismark the fruits of the Northern and Eastern looms,; 
the silks, hats, gloves, laces and gewgaws of the old worlds 
metropolis of taste and fashion and huge hogsheads and bar- 
rels of sugar and molasses of Louisiana. Wiih such a tout 
ensemble he would have a picture lovelier and grander than the 
scenery that greeted the admiring gaze of the inspired Hebrew 
Prophet and Law Giver, when he ascended from the pi lins of 
Moab to the top of mount Pisgah, to see the beautiful land 
that was promised to the deceudants of Abraham, Isaac and 
Jacob, and die. 

This was the scene, with the railroads and steamboats left 
out, whose genial climate, generous soil and lovely features, 
attracted with its miraculous beauty, the roving Carolina home 
seekers of 1804-'5-'t>, appealing to them with resistless elo- 
quence to abandon their restless, roaming methods of life and 
settle down to permanent home building, this was the lovely 
land in which those bold adventurers from the Carolinas; the 
Kirklauds, Westons, Hanseys, Brashiers, Chapmans, Haj'S, 
Kuightons, Ingrahams, Griffiths, Crofts, Gables, Edwards, Over- 
tons, Packers, Whites, Clarks, Burnetts, Bradfords and Rheams 
founded their seats and raiserl their home altars and settled 
down to permanent home building. 

I know there are doubting Thomases, who will question 
the fidelity of such a lovely panorama in the heart of a "decay- 
ing communit}" like East Feliciana has been errcmeously styled. 
But thej can see for themselves all the ma,terials for just such 



" EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT. ' 15 

a picture in traversing any fair day the thirhj-five thousand acres 
of th« second ward, of which " 'tis true, 'tis pity 'tis true" there 
are twenty-s^-even thoumrid acres, of forest and field, lying, to- 
day, waste, idle and unproductive. Because when the war of the 
sections closed, the bones of the former proprietors and thfir 
sons lay bleaching on the battle fields, and the eniaucipated 
race, left to shift for themselves, without the fostering cave of 
"old Massa" and his gallant sons, migrated to the sugar fields. 

In candor and in simple justice I will add to correct the 
impression which is made by the fact of such an immense body 
of uncultivated land that there is some chronic incurable cause 
for it, thiit the decay and desolation which seems to hover like 
a black pall over so many seats of former wealth and prosperity 
is more apparent than real, which is clearly demonstrated by the 
achievements of a few German farmers, who, a few years ago, 
bought, at a very low figure, some of the abandoned lands, and 
have already restored them to their pristine vigor and fertility 
and have harvested from the present years crop a little more 
than 500 lbs. of lint, cotton, and over 50 barrels of corn to the 
acre. In further demonstration it may be added that these 
German farmers have paid with the generous products of the 
renovated soil, the purchase price of their possessions, they 
have protected their holdings with good strong fences, under 
which they have constructed comfortable dwellings, barns, sta- 
bles and out-houses, gardens and orchards, and are surrounded 
by fat horses and mules, and fat cattle and hogs. And while 
doing all this they have erected a commodious German 
Methodist Church, which likevpise serves as a school house, for 
the flaxen haired, blue eyed little Teutons. 

Will the toiling, overburdend, ill requited tillers of the 
worn out fields of the Carolinas still turn a deaf ear to the 
urgent appeals of the children of their children, to come and 
help restore the homes which their children founded in 1804- 
'5-'6? Will the heavily handicapped and mortgaged farmers of 
the West still hesitate to abandon the inclement climate which 
shortens life and impairs all its brief pleasures, to bring his 
money and labor to a climate in which the Orange tree was 
once an indigenous growth, and ripened its fruit in the open 
air just as any other orchard tree — to a climate and soil, where 
there is fertile laud for a multitude of workers at prices rang- 
ing from $1.50 to $10 per acre? Before closing this long 
sketch of one eighth of East Feliciana, I desire to say a few 
words descriptive of the movements and methods of the early 
pioneers. 

GENERAL REMARKS. 

The pioneer days of the second ward — the days of hand 
looms, spinning wheels and scooter plows with wooden shovel 



16" " EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT." 

boards, developed some rare and estimable characters. Amongf 
the firot to come and the last to leave was old "Uncle Daniel 
Cleveland," a lineal descendant of Oliver Cromwell, the Great 
Protector. He laid down a constable's staff in South Carolina 
to found a new home to which he brought all his household 
effects, farmini*- implements and kitchen utensils, stored care- 
fully in a tobacco hogshead. In his new home he lived and 
raised a numerous and powerful family which multiplied and 
prospered exceedingly, and in which, after seventy years of 
useful, virtuous and happy life, he died. Old Uncle Daniel 
was moreover a model Democrat of the "'Old Hickory" type,, 
who never kicked nor scratched a ticket and in his later days, 
bad a word of forgiveness for all his enemies — except "the silk 
stockinged, ruffle-shirted whigs," of which this writer was one. 

The religious movement developed early. The first house 
of worship was built in the centre of the neighborhood in which 
the Bradfords, Rheams, Clarkes and Tubbervilles settled. It 
was built of logs near Redwood crpek and was probably served 
by those two admirable types of Wesley's itinerants. Rev. Da- 
vid Pipes, of the 5th Ward of KasL Feliciana, and Rev. Barnabas 
Pipkin, of St Helena. 

Later, after Olive Branch Meeting House and Camp 
Grounds were founded, the Rev. Isaac Wall, another earnest 
and marked type of Wesley's itinerants, came to garner in the 
harvest fields. 

When civilization came into the i>rimitive forests and cane 
brakes, with luxury in its train, the early pioneers built them 
saw mills along the Comite and Redwood and registered an 
edict of banishment against the old log house, with its rough 
puncheon floor. The first progTessive step towards the luxury 
of civilized architecture in the ward Avas taken by Mr. Joseph 
Kirkland, who had come into the wilderness as early as 18U2, 
commissioned, perhaps, like the two spies of Joshua, "to view 
the land of Canaan," and who ha\dng reported back to the 
South Carolina Procurators that it was a good land for them 
to come to and bring their wives, their little ones and their 
cattle, to build a home and divide an inheritance; remained and 
commenced the work of development, a year or two in advance 
of the arrival of the main column of immigrants. Mr. Kirkland 
having access to no better lumber supply, commenced at a very 
early day with cross cut saw and whip saw to manufacture the 
material for the first frame building ever erected in ward number 
two. That venerable pile of hand manufactured lumber has a his- 
tory coeval with the progress of civilization in the ward. It is not 
only the most durable, best constructed, but the cheapest pile 
of lumber ever modeled. Tradition laughingly describes the 
closing scenes in the construction of this renowned old edifice. 
Ml-. Joe Kirkland, a gentleman of lavish and hospitable tastes, 



"east FELICIANA PAST AND PKESENT.'' 17 

sent couriers into all the neighborhood as his splendid man- 
sion approached completion to invite the neighbors to a house- 
warming fiolic on a stated day. 

When the guests, attired in all the primitive finery of the 
cane brakes, ascended to the second story, with the fiddles, and 
filled the spacious corridors and rooms with mirth, music and 
dancing, the architects, painters, plasterers and glaziers, all 
creditors of the hospitable giver of the feast, stood around 
dressed in their homely every day working garb, quite uncon- 
sidered and neglected by the fine birds up-stairs. In this 
unpleasant predicament the thrifty ancestor of the Kirkland« 
spied his hungi-y creditors and commiserating the undeserved 
neglect which had left them out of the programme of amuse- 
ments, considerately invited them into a small room in the 
basement and proposed as a pastime a game of "Old Sledge" 
or "Draw." The same gossiping tradition goes on to say that 
Mr. Kiakland devoted all that night, in the little basement 
room, to hospitably administering to the amusement of his 
little band of mechanic friends, and that the next morning 
their liens had been miraculously extinguished by amicable 
process known to the law as "confusion" and very early next 
morning the late lien creditors were out canvassing the part- 
ing guests for a new job. 

The liens being thus extinguished, the title to the house 
passed, soon afterwards, clear of incumbrance, to Gen. E. W. 
Ripley, the renowned hero of Bridgewater battle and the first 
commander of this military department after Chalmf^tte. At 
the death of Gen. Ripley, the fine property of which I have 
been writing, which stands in perfect repair to-day two hun- 
dred yards north of the line of railroad from Clinton to Ethel, 
became the propertj'^ by purchase of the late B. M. G. Brown, 
a native of Darlington District, South Carolina, for many years 
the honored and trusted sheriff of East Feliciana. At Mr. 
Brown's death Mr. C. C. Brown and his co-heirs became the 
owners. 

In conclusion let me emphasize the fact that Nature has 
so equitably distributed her choice gifts as to endow nearly 
every quarter section of these abandoned lands with winter 
pasturage and shelter of evergreen canes, shading a sufiicient 
water supply for cattle. And furthermore there is scarcely a 
quarter section that has not its valley affording a few acres of 
land capable of producing a hale of coflon to the acre without fer- 
tilizers. Hoping my picture will attract capital and labor from 
harsher climes and less productive soil, I am, yours truly, 

H. SKIPWITH. 

Note. — Since the above sketch was closed, ready to hand 
to the publisher, Mr. A. J. Hawsey, grandson of the hardy old 



18 "east FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT,"" 

pioneer, Zadock Hawsey, informs me that he fenced in last 
winter a piece of abandoned land in his vicinity and has this 
year, with one hand working thirty acres on shares, harvested 
200 barrels of corn and twenty-three bales of cotton! These fig- 
ures incontestibly demonstrate that farming on the abandoned 
lands of Ward No. 2 does pay. H. SKIP WITH. 



ETHEL. 

»j 
A town of about 50 houses and about 100 inhabitants 
situated at the junction of the Clinton Bend with the main trunk 
line of the Louisville^ New Orleans and Texas Railroad seven 
miles west of Clinton (the Court House,) and five miles east of 
Jackson a prosperous and popular commercial and educatioual 
seat, for which it is the principal shipping, I'eceiving and dis- 
tributing "entre pot." 

Ethel is just on the line dividing of the First, Second and Third 
Wards, seated on an eminence which slopes for half a mile, 
gradually, on the east toward Redwood, a creek fed by perpetual 
springs, and which rewards the fisherman with fine strings of 
perch, trout and blue cat lish. It boasts a Post office, commodious 
depot, fine school, a Presbyterian church, a good hotel and livery 
stable, and several enterprising merchants,^ engaged in receiving 
and forwarding their freights, to the surrounding farmers, and 
in buying or shipping their crops. Contiguous to Ethel are 
many large bodies of abandoned lands, which were once highly 
esteemed for their great productive capacity, but which have had 
a rest of twenty-five years, since the old system of labor w^as 
abolished; those abandoned lands; are mostly fertile patches which 
wei'e never worn out, and can be easily and cheaply, restored to 
their full productive capacity Avhich they originally had, and can 
be bought on very reasonable terms. All the territory, tributary 
as a feeder to the commerce of Ethel, ranks among the best in 
East Feliciana. Its tributary, territory, now laying waste, idle 
and unproductive when fostered and regenerated, by a fair sup- 
ply of capital and labor, each acre will produce 50 bushels of 
corn and 2000 Ihs. of cotton in the seed, and all other agricultural 
productions suited to the climate in the sime proportion. The 
character of the lands tributai-y to Ethel for health, for pictures- 
que scenery, and abundant good water for man and beast, is 
uot excelled in any other locality in East Feliciana or any other 
place in Louisiana. 



?# 



tffllf '^i ^ HiliL 



HEADQUARTERS FOR 

COMMERCIAL MEN, 

BOARD # LODGING 

AT REASONABLE RATES. 

Livery and Feed Stable. ^ 

Mail hack leaves hotel twice a day for Jackson. 

Express and Baggage promptly delivered, 

HOISIS Al® iUGGIIS 10 111.1 M i©WEST PBJCES, 

W. W. WOUTHY, Propr. - - ETHEL, LA. 



W. W. WORTHY, 

DEALER IN 

Staple and Fancy Dry Goods, 

GROCERIES and GENERAL SUPPLIES. 
KTHKL, - - - L^. 




PxEV. W. L. C. HUNNICUTT, D. D., PRESIDENT, 



Rev. W. L. C HUNNICUTT 
G. H. WILEY, A. M., 
R. H, McGIMSEY, A. B., 
J. M. SULLIVAN, B. A. ■ 
A. R. HOLCOMBE, M. D. 
Rev. B. M. DRAKE, A. B. 
Rev. ROBERT H. WYNN, 
Mrs. E. M. HUNNICUTT 
Mrs. R. H. McGIMSEY, 



FACULTY. 

, D.D. Professor of Mental and Moral Science. 

Professor of Aucietit and Modern Languages. 

Professor of Mathematics. 

Professor of Chemistry and Physics. 

Professor of Physiology and Hygiene. 

Professor English Laza and Literattire. 

B. A. - Principal of Preparatory Department. 

Assistant in Preparatory Department. 

Teacher of Vocal Music. 



CHARGES. 



$30 on 

- 20 00 

2 m 

- 5 m 
10 00 

Board in Private Families, all things furnished, $13.00 to IG 00 



College Classes, 5 months. 
Preparatory Classes, 5 months, 
Contingent Fee, 5 months. 
Matriculation (College Class,) 
Tabl>8 Board, per month, 



EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT." 21 



Centenai'y College was founded in 1839, tlie centenary 
year of Methodism; hence its name. It»was first located near 
Brandon, Mississippi, but was moved to Jackson, Louisiana, 
in 1845, and calltd ''Centenary College of Louisiana." 

Its grand center building, erected shortly before our civil 
war, and the two wings, containing dormitories, make it a very 
commodious collegiate establishment. 

Previous to the late war it was prosperous, having several 
hundred students. In common with all monetary interests in 
our Southland, the endowment and property of the college 
suffered much from the effects of this war. Fur some years its 
fortunes waned and its hopes languished; but more recently 
it has shared the reviving prosperity of the country and its 
prospects are annually brightening. 

Its plan of endowment, relying largely, though not wholly 
upon the interest-bearing notes of individual friends, has al- 
ready put new life into the college, and promises to be the 
means of establishing it in permanent prosperity and useful- 
ness. 

Besides the general tone of good morals prevailing at this 
college, the Biblical instruction of all the students and espe- 
cially the oppoi'tunities afforded to students for the ministry, 
of whom there are annually about twenty in attendance, are 
marked features of the institution. The literary societies, the 
libraries and the Y. M. C. A. are powerful auxiliaries in the 
work of the college. Its faculty now numbers ten professors 
and teacheas, and the majority of its students are orderly and 
studious. Its list of graduates, running back as far as the year 
1825, contains the names of many of the most worthy and dis- 
tinguished men in Louisiana and the adjacent States. 

Such an institution is at once a blessing and an honor to 
the Parish of East Feliciana and to the State of Louisiana. 



22 " EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT." 

PIONEERS OF THE THIRD WARD, 

A moving panorama truthfully depicting the march of civil- 
zation in the Third Ward of East Feliciana would lift the cur- 
tain in 1802 and disclose the Carneys and Rogillios felling the 
canebrakes and tightin|;' the panthers and bears over the identi- 
cal land novp^ included within the corporate limits of the town 
of Jackson. 

That was the nucleus that attracted the Scotts, Winters, Mc- 
Kneelys, Kellers and McCants from Union District, South Caro- 
lina in 1805, the Brians from Darlington District, and Benj. 
Fauvre and Temple Nix, from Edgefield District, S. C, in 1806; 
the Easts, also from Edgefield District, in 1812, and from the 
same source the Singletarys; the Fishburns from Connecticut 
and the McQueens from the pine woods of North Carolina lying 
between Wilmington and Fayetteville. Many of whom found not 
only good lands but good wives among the primeval canebrakes 
and forests in Jackson and its immediate vicinity and many of 
those who have been conspicuous in shaping the civilization of 
the ward trace their genealogy to a graft of the South Carolina 
blood upon the old Carney and Rogillio stock. 

To attempt to sketch the progress of civilization in the third 
ward without keeping Jackson conspicuously in the foreground 
of the picture would be as absurd as putting the play of Hamlet 
on the stage without the eccentric Prince of Denmark. So es- 
sential to the picture is an authentic memoir of the growth of 
Jackson that I have postponed the preparation of my sketch of 
the ward in order to find out when Jackson became the seat of 
justice of the County of Feliciana. Many people erroneously 
believe that the county of Feliciana had no larger boundaries 
than those which now include the two parishes of East and West 
Feliciana. 

Inasmuch as it confers added metropolitan dignity upon the 
oldest third ward center of population and school of civilizatioa, 
I will call atention to the proclamation of Governor Claiborne 
issued at St. Francisville, December 7th, 1810, defining the Hmits 
of the county of Feliciana to be "all the territory lying west of 
the Perdido river and east of the Mississippi river, bounded 
north by the line of demarkation and south b}^ the sea, the lakes 
and Bayou Mauchac'" and fixing the seat of justice at St. Fran- 
cisville. And in St. Francisville the judges, Martin, Mathews 
and Lewis, held terms of the Superior Court of the Territory of 
Orleans coatinuonsly until 1812, in which year the judges were 
compelled to abandon their regular term of court by threats of 
violent resistence from the people of St. Francisville and vicinity. 
Hence I deduce the conclusion that Jackson was selected as the 
seat of justice, of the largest county in the United States, in 
1813, and thereby became the depository of the judicial records ^ 



EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT. 



2S 



of a territory larger in area than Rhode Island or Delaware. 
That is an episode in the history of the oldest seat of third ward 
civilization not generally known. It may however have had a 
tendency to enhance the social and political influence of the 
center over the extremities and may have conducted, in after 
years, to bring to a small and inland town the first educational 
foundation and grandest charity of Louisiana. The Insane Asy- 
lum is still in Jackson and needs no further notice in this sketch, 
"College of Louisiana" which was established in 1825, having 
for alimony $5000 per annum, all the school funds of both Feli- 
cianas and all the monies derived from gaming licences in New 
Orleans, having equipped students from evei-y part of Louisiana 
for many years, among whom the late Judge John McVea and 
the late Colonel Preston Pond have not yet passed out of the 
affectionate remembrance of East Feliciana, has been super- 
ceded by another seat of learning, which the Methodists founded 
in their centenary year, which, though as efleetive in equipping 
students for the battle of life, may not be quite as richly endowed 
as its predecessor. 

This old and fertile hom« of th^e South Carolina colonists, 
who came when this century was yet in its infancy, has still re- 
maining upon its allotted area some heavy bodies of undisturbed 
forests and much idle and abandoned land — many fields which 
after emancipation were thrown aside because they were errone- 
ously thought to be exhausted. There are however so many 
notable instances of the restoration to their primitive fertility of 
the abandoned seats of the old pioneers, — so many instances in 
which those discarded fields are by good treatment made to 
yield crops far in excess of the production of ^'ante bellum" slave- 
ry times, that these idle and unproductive lands are increasing 
in reputation and while perceptibly enhancing in price are still 
held at prices ridiculously cheap, considering their intrinsic value. 
Before closing my picture of the achievements of the glorious old 
pioneers of the Third Ward, I beg leave to submit a few 

GENERAL REMARKS. 

Within sw; miles of three railroad stations and within twelve 
miles, by good wagon roads, of three receiving and forwarding 
points on the Mississippi river; with one railroad penetrating its 
borders from east to west, and another railroad running its 
whole breadth from north to South, the farmers of the ward and 
the merchants of Jackson have always successfully resisted the 
levying of extortionate tribute upon production and commerce 
and their spirit of independence and consistent opposition to 
oppressive exactions have maintained for them the advantages 
of a "zona ibre.'' 



24 "east FKLICIANA PAST AND l-EfStNT."' 

Jackson's cheap, easy and free intercourse with the outside 
world and her exceptionally good educational advantages have 
attracted from abroad numerous accessions of capital and labor, 
which falling readily into liue with the genius of the old fam- 
ilies have done their devoir in holding higher the standard of a 
pure and polished civilization and have advanced the material 
standards to a point bigger than they reached in ante helium 
times. 

With her contiguity to the great river, her railroads, col- 
leges and renowned female schools, the third ward would seem 
to have all that is needed for a pi^osperous career and a fuller 
development. There is however in her economy one potent 
factor missing. 

She produces enough cotton to feed two first class factories 
and Jackson is therefore adjacent to a cotton seed supply, large 
enough without extensive forageing around, to keep a big cotton 
seed mill at work the year round, and the beds and fields of 
snow white sand on Thompsons Creek, if convertible into glass, 
would furnish the raw material to run a dozen factories for fifty 
years. 

As a manufacturing centre the former seat of justice of the 
biggest county in the United States is still a virgin experiment. 
Her exceptional advantages hove never been fairly tested but we 
hope and have a right to believe that a people so earnestly in- 
tent on making their society powerful and prosperous, will ere 
long bring Manufactures to the aid of Commerce. Agriculture 
and Education. Hoping it may come before the century dies, 

I am, etc., 

H. SKIPWITH. 



EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT. 



25 



LONGEVITY IN THE PARISH OF EAST FELICIANA. 



A REMARKABLE SHOWINCt OF THE HEALTHFULNESS OF THIS PART OF 

LOUISIANA. 



EXCELLENT HEALTH, LONG LIFE, A LOVELY CLIMATE THE CAUSE. 



CAN ANY PARISH OR COUNTY MAKE A BETTER RECORD 



Editor of Mirror : 

Some time ago I promised 3'ou the result of some investi- 
gations I had been making in regard to longevity in East Fe- 
liciana Parish. My attention was first attracted to this subject 
irs rendering a pastorate of sixteen years in the parish — I v^as 
struck with the number of aged persons it had been my duty 
to lay away in the grave — my record showed twenty-nine per- 
sons whose ages ranged from 70 to 90 years. Three other per- 
sons belonging to my congregation had died during my absence 
and had b(-en buried by other ministers. The average age of 
these thirty-two persons exceeded 74 years. Struck with so 
remarkable a fact I began a series of inquiries as to the old 
persons deceased in this parish within the past twenty years. 
The results so far gathered gives a list of ninety-nine j)ersons 
whose aggregate years amount to 7385, an average age of 
nearly 74 years. Of these, 6 ranges from 90 to 95; 30 from 80 
to 90; and 63 from 70 to 80 years; am sure that many others 
died during these years of which I am ignorant and there are 
many yet living who equal in age those given above. 

This record presents among other remarkable facts that 
ninety-nine persons have died in East Feliciana parish within 
20 years whose aggregate age (add year to year) would extend 
fourteen centuries beyond the creation of the world (according 
to the common chronology) or putting the years together would 
reach back to Adam and returning down the centuries would 
bring us to the time of Noah. 

But the most important fact is its bearing upon the health- 
fulness of the parish. We do not believe this record can be 
beaten by any parish or county in America. It must be remem- 
bered that these were all white, no colored persons being con- 
sidered in the list. Not having the census statistics, I cannot 
make comparisons. The argument to be drawn from this re- 
markable record of longevity is a strong one for those seeking 
homes and a green old age. 

We subnit the list, hoping that any error may be pointed 
out and any additional names may be added. 



M 



EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT. 



NAME. AGE. 

Mrs. M. A. S.Uiman... 90 

Mrs. Johnson 91 

Mrs. Kuth Calfield 70 

Mrs. Poole .,.,... 85 

Mr. Guth 79 

Mr. Wash Chapman 78 

Mr. Zuggs 70 

Mr. Hugh Lucas ... 75 

Mrs. Sallie Kicherts 70 

Mrs. Morgan 75 

Mrs. Maley 75 

Mrs. L. Chairman 70 

llev. John Higginbotham . . 75 

Mr. Bird 70 

Judge Hughes 70 

Mrs. Collins 70 

Mrs. Kist,., 70 

Rev. James Stratton 74 

Mr. Henry Marston 90 

Mr. Benj. Brown 80 

Mrs. Overton ^. 75 

Mrs. J. A. Harris 73 

Clem Gore , 75 

Mrs. Gore 83 

Capt. McCombs 73 

'^Tttrs. M. L. Skipwith 78 

Mrs. M, J. Tilden 85 

Mrs. Freeman 88 

Mrs. Mary Guth 78 

Mr. S. A. Dubose 78 

Dr. Chas. Wood. . .. 70 

Mrs. James 80 

Mr. Mike Richerts 80 

Mr. Eli White 90 

lte&. Knox 90 

Dr. P. Pond 82 

Mr. Jas. King 80 

Capt G. C. Comstock 75 

Mr. Wm. East 80 

Mr. Welsh .. 75 

Mr. Wall 73 

Mr. Wm. Silliman 92 

Mr. David Pipes, Sr 84 

Mrs. Katie Norwood. 80 

Mr. W. M. Jordan 70 

Mrs. Jas. King 80 

Mr. P. Fishburn . 90 

Robt. Vaugan 70 

Tim Rog-ers 70 



NAME. AGE. 

Mr. Wm. Patterson 70 

Mr. Frank Hardesty 70 

Mrs. Adams .... 7^ 

Mr. Andy Tomb 75 

Prof. Holcombe 70 

Mrs. Wiley 70 

Mrs. Irwin 70 

Mr, Evans White 71 

Mrs. Hatcher 70 

Mrs. Kitchen 70 

Mrs. Jenet Richardson 75 

Mrs. Lucas .70 

Mr. DeLee 80 

Mrs. Green 80 

Obediah Thompson 70 

Dan'l McLean . .72 

Miss McLean > . . 80 

xMr. Charles Trotter 70 

Mr. Booker Kent 70 

Capt. Grifiath 80 

Judge Scott 84 

Mr. Wicker 73 

Mr. Allen 70 

Mr. Aaron Robinson 10 

Mrs. Kent 70 

Mrs. Story 80 

A. Worms 71 

Mr. McMurray 70 

Mrs. McMurray 70 

Mr. Worthy ..70 

Mrs. E. Miller 74 

Mr. Hewey 70 

Nancy Wisdom 80 

Mr. Lipscomb 80 

Mrs. Bethany 95 

Mrs. Ann Gleason 81 

Mrs. H. Lambert 78 

R. L. Brashear 82 

Mrs. S. Seals 75 

Ed. Story 82 

Mr. Hej man 74 

Mrs. Heyman 80 

Mrs. Oppenheimer 81 

H. B. Chase 70 

Wm. Irwin 70 

W. H. Green 70 

Char. Crane 70 

Mrs. Weil 74 

Wm. Austin 80 



Mrs. Cassie Harrell . . 80 

We request any parties in the parish to add any facts known 
that would perfect this record. Yours, M. B. SHAW. 



EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT. 



27 



Siuce handing- you the'above I have obtained the following 
additional names: 



NAME." AGE. 

W. W. Jones 73 

Rev. A. G. Miller 74 

J. M. Young 72 

Mrs. Austin 74 

Jas. Reams, Sr 80 

Jas. Reams, Jr 70 

Mr. Tabor 90 

Mr. Drawdy 75 

Robt. Tucker 73 

Jas. Chapman 80 

Allen Chapman 76 



NAME. AGE. 

Mrs. Butternauth 72 

Mrs. L. Perkins 75 

Cullen McCarstle 70 

Gen. A. G. Carter 75 

J. R. Ceambers, Sr 73 

Mr. Mattingly 70 

Sandy Spears 70 

Archie Palmer 70 

Mrs. S. Palmer 70 

Mrp. Ellen Kernan 78 

Mrs. H. Levi 72 



Mrs. Wieker 80 

Thus the agggregate ages would instead of stopping at 
Moses, would come down the ages to nearly eight centuries be- 
fore Christ's advent on the earth. M. B. S. 



Clinton, La., June 9, 1890. 
Rev. M. B. Hhaw : 

Dear Sir — I enclose you a list of names of persons not on 
your list published in The Mirror of May 22, 189U, who lived in 
this parish and died here since the close of the war, all of them 
I think within the last twenty years, and all of whom were 70 
years of age and and over. Their exact ages I do not know. 
Yours, very respectfully, F. D. BRAME. 

NAME. AGE. 

Mrs. F. Welsh 

Mrs. Ann Brian 

Mrs. McQueen 

Lawrence Morgan 

W. H. Potter 

Mrs. W. H. Potter 

J. C, Jackson 

Hardy Saunders 80 

Mrs. Nancy Payne 

Mrs . Gintha 

Teos. F. Noone 

Mr. Hoffmeister 

Mrs Waddil 

Mrs. C. B. Kennedy 

Mrs. Jane Chapman 

Mrs. Pence 

Mrs. Cain 

Mrs. Campbell 

Mrs. Zilpha Chance 

Mrs. Rebecca Whittaker . . . 
Mrs. Daughty 



NAME AGE. 

Mrs. Ellen Flyn 

Mr. S. Heap 

Thos. N. Northam 

James Pratt 

Mrs. Eliza Kelly 

Miss Nancy McCall 

Mrs. Mary Pearse 

John O. Perry 

Mrs, John O. Perry 

Wm. J. Hayden 

Dr. J. H. McWhinney ... . 

JohnB. Taylor 

Billington Taylor 

Reuben Nash 

Davis Gore 89 

Miss Nettie McFall 100 

Nancy McQueen 89 

Miss Fannie Pond 

Mr. Delpiani 70 

Mr. Morgan 80 



28 



"east FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT. 



Clinton, May 24, 1890. 
Dear Mr. Shaw — Below you'll find a few names to add to 
your list: 



NAME. 



AGE. NAME. AGE. 

Miss Eliza Mills 70 

Mr. Isaac Taylor 75 

Rich Dreher 75 

Howell Cobb <,. . 70 

Nelson Nesom 75 

Mrs. Jane Boarman 73 

Mrs. Hayney 70 

Mrs. Davis 75 

Mr. Jno. Richards 69 

Mrs. Wm. Stone 68 

Mr. M. Schurer 70 

Eli Norwood ... 68 

Mrs. Kennedy 70 

Mrs. Kahn 68 

Mr. Jno. Elder 75 

Mr. Wm. Lockwood 70 

Mrs. Patrick 70 

Mr. Henry Broadway 70 

Mr. John Dunbar 70 

Mrs. Mary Lawson 80 

Mrs. Guinther 70 

Mr. JohnRist 80 

Mrs. Maddell 80 

Mrs. Emma Jones 75 

Mrs. Strickengoss 75 



Rev. David Pipes 70 

Mrs. David Pipes 70 

Mrs. Mary Broadway 75 

Mr. Wm Hay den 70 

Mr. Green Edwards 68 

Mr. Lee Hardesty 70 

J. H. Muse 70 

Sam. Lee 70 

Noel Norwood 70 

Mrs. Norwood 68 

Zack Norwood 68 

Mrs. Margaret Woodward . . 80 

D. S. Rhea ...70 

Mrs. Rhea 68 

Jno. J. Flynn 75 

J. B. Taylor 70 

Mr. Bethard 70 

Langston East 75 

Rev. John East 70 

Judge John McVey 68 

Stith New 68 

Mr. Pratt 70 

Wm. Gurney 68 

Bailey Chaney 80 

Mr. K. Harrell 70 

A few of the above died after leaving the parish a short 
time. Two-thirds of their lives was spent in this parish. 

Yours, F. HARDESTY. 



PIONEERS OF THE FOURTH WARD. 

There were tivo tidal waves of Southern immigration, each 
bearing on its foremest crest explorers into the wilds of East 
Feliciana adjacent to the line of demarkation between the United 
States and the King of Spain's Province of West Florida. 

The Chickasaw lands, called the Yazoo Purchase, included 
for the most part within the borders of what is now the State of 
Mississippi, being opened for settlement attracted roving bands 



" KAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT." 29 

of home seekers from all parts of the old original thirteen States, 
in the closing years of the last century, and the treaty made 
with Spain, October 27th, 1795, fixing the boundary line on the 
81st parallel of latitude, which boundary line was run by Capt. 
EUicott and Spanish commissioners, according to treaty, as early 
as 1797, and which commencing in the middle of Bajou Tunica' 
where it empties in the Mississippi river came due east, dividing 
the fourth ward from Wilkinson County, Miss., and likewise the 
seventh and eighth wards of East Feliciana parish from Amite 
County, Miss. 

The second tidal wave of immigration was set in motion by Mr. 
Jefferson's announcement in October, 1803, that all Louisiana 
had been bought by the United States, brought home seekers by 
battalions, whole families and neighborhoods. 

On the foremost crest of the first of these tidal waves, and 
therefore in advance of either column, came into the undisturbed 
canebrakes and forests adjacent to Keller Town — now a small 
hamlet right on the line of demarkation, taking its name from 
the ancestor of the old influential Keller family of East Felici- 
ana, who founded there a new home to replace the one he aban- 
doned in South Carolina — was old Mr. John Palmer, an Irish 
gentleman of education and refinement, who, like Blanuerhasset 
and Thomas Addis Enimett, after the Irish rebellion, fled from 
the storms of his own country to find quiet in ours, 

Having coasted through the Carolinas and the Chickasaw 
purchase, he found the quiet he sought in the solitudes of the 
forests and canebrakes of the wilds of "Possum Corner," a soli- 
tude which was unbroken unless the Irish ex-rebel had a turn 
towards the sentimental which could find "tongues in trees, . 
books in the running brooks, and sermons in stones;" unless the 
old fellow, provoked by the growling bears, the screaming pan- 
thers, or the sneaking pilferings of the multitudes of possums — 
for which oleaginous animals the corner is, and always was, re- 
nowned — resorted to use of his trusty rifle. Amid these lone- 
some environments the benevolent old Irish recluse and alcalde 
administered Spanish law and justice, and trained his three sons 
Archilbald, Adam and Nechemiah, who were all prominent 
workers in the advancement of a pure christian civilization. And 
side by side with the old Irish rebel, the first to penetrate the 
canebrakes in which he was lying perdue came the ancestor of 
Drury and Isaac Smith. Attracted by the noises of civilization 
made by these two earliest explorers, came early in the present 
century, the ancestors of the Kellers, Whitakers, Gauldens, No- 
lands, Jeters, Higginbothams, McKneelys and Boatners, some 
with a permit and grant of land from the King of Spain, most 
of them uninvited squatters building their homes close to the 
line, equally prepared for a monarchical or republican denoue- 
ment, retaining the right of choice for either destiny. 



30 " EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT. 

Early and conspicuous in the Keller Town community was the 
tall, straight figure old Ben Graves, who was not old then, but a 
handsome single gentleman from SouthCarolina, who brought with 
him the family cow and diminitive pony, and founded his home 
where the fourth and seventh wards meet on the line of demark- 
ation, and where Wilkinson and Amite counties, corner on the 
line. His ritle kept him abundantly supplied with panther steaks, 
saddles of veniscn and haunches of bear and the ubiquitous, 
oleaginous possum. When sugar, coffee, salt or flour was need- 
ed, the pony was saddled with an empty sack and as many dry 
skins of deer, bears and panthers as could be strapped on, and 
thus equipped Mi*. Graves would strike into a bridle path lead- 
ing to St. Francisville where he would exchange his peltries for 
supplies — which was better than giving «. lien on the crop. On 
his return from one of these annual pilgrimages Ben and the 
pony received the hospitalities of a settler who had cut down an 
acre or so of canes and started a clearing close to the line of the 
bridle path, and in that settlers log cabin was a lovely little 
barefoot beauty of the canebrakes, the settler being like Jeptha, 
Judge in Israel, who had one fair daughter and no more. Tra- 
dition pleasantly relates that the heart of the tall, handsome 
Carolinian was not only smitten but completely subjugated, 
and on blushingly making his doleful dilemma known to his 
canebrake Dulcinea, she surrendered, not at discretion, but with 
one important reservation: "She mvist have a pair of wedding 
slippers to stand up in," 

Most men would have opened negotiations with Paris, New 
York or New Orleans for a small shipment of dainty wedding 
slippers the more speedly to raise the embargo on the nuptial 
ceremony, but Ben trudged home Avith light heart and elastic 
step, and visiting his tan yard to give the finishing touch to his 
hides, commenced to model two lasts, one for the bride's dainty 
slippers and a larger one for the bridegroom's boots. ^When the 
slippers and boots were finished the old Irish Alcalde' was invit- 
ed to accompany him to the cabin which enshrined Ben's heart 
and sheltered his unexpectant bride. The annals of Amite and 
Wilkinson Counties and the Fourth and Seventh Wards of East 
Feliciana attest lovingly that none have done more to develope 
a pure civilization, than old Ben's blushing bride of the cane- 
breaks although her trousseau was nothing more sparkhng than 
a pair of home made buck skin slippers. 

Continuing my portraiture of the growing Fourth Ward, 
which would not be complete if it should stop before depicting 
its general adaptibility to pastoral and agricultural purposes; its 
wonderful advantages as a productive home, where the home 
seeker can chose to dwell amid fertile cultivated fields, on the 
crown of an elevated plateau with miles of landscape of mira- 
culous beauty, or down in the green valleys in sight and hear-' 



"east ieliciana past and present." 31 

ing of the rippling, joyous waters ; and in each locality find a 
sweet happy home, with a good living annexed, without ex- 
cessive outlay of cash or sweat of brow. 

Although not in sight of the cupolas and domes of a 
great city or in hearing of its hum and noise, if the home 
seeker be a man of gregarious inclinations he can indulge his 
tastes in two young and growing centres of population, in 
which life and bustle give token of rapid future growth. Nor- 
wood and Wilson lying along the line of the L. N. O. and T. 
Railway are already rebuking old Keller town for its sleepy- 
headed ways; already assuming the airs of big trade emporiums 
just as we have seen the lovely little witches who promenade 
their streets, discard short dresses and come out, by magical 
transformation, in long ones with regulation skirts and trains. 
Two embryo cities, each striving for the crown of wealth and 
population and good society. 

From behind the green curtains which fringe its northern 
boundary along the winding banks of Thompsons creek, and its 
eastern borders which are curtained from the world beyond by 
the forests and cane breaks which margin the banks of Comite 
river, the Fourth Ward points with pride to the testimonials of 
moving and pure society which has developed behind its curtains, 
and attracts the gaze of the passing streams of home seekers by 
pointing proudly to her interior jewels. 

Notwithstanding that the beautiful scenery along the line of 
the railroad has already attracted many investments of capital 
and labor from abroad there still remains within the borders of 
the Fourth Ward twelve thousand acres of primeval forests and 
abandoned fields, lying idle, for lack of labor. And while the 
Fourth Ward has received so many recruits from abroad, it is a 
notable fact that the worship around the old altars to God, 
Home and Country remain as pure to-day as when the Carolini- 
ans brought it across the line of demarkation in 1804-'5 and '6, 
etc. Feeling sanguine and hopeful that the waste places will 
soon be built up, I am yours, etc. 

H. SKIPWITH. 



WILSON, 

ITS NATURAL ADVANTAGES; ITS LOCATION; ITS RESOURCES AND PEOPLE; 
ITS PURE WATER AND FERTILE SOIL; AS A HEALTH RESORT, ETC. 



Maj. H. Skipwith, 

Clinton, La. : 

Esteemed old Friend — Having learned of your design to ad- 
vertise the Parish of East Feliciana in the form of a neat read- 



32 " EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT." 

able and attractive pamphlet descriptive of its people, lavdn, 
Hocial characfenslic>^, and its foums, etc , and feeling desirous that 
the thriving, prosperous and fast-growing town Wilson should 
fill the place in the advertisement, which its many attractive 
features entitle it to, I send you the following portrait drawn 
from life of 

THE TOWN OF WILSON, 

which is a town of one hundred houses and three hundred in- 
habitants, and is situated on the main line of the great Louis- 
ville, New Orleans and Texas Railway, one hundred and twen- 
ty-two miles north of New Orleans; thirty-two miles north of 
Baton Rouge, the capital of the State of Louisiana; eight miles 
northwest of Clinton, the seat of justice of the Parish of East 
Feliciana, and the same distance from Jackson, La., the oldest 
center of population, commerce and education in the parish. 
It is situated partly in the valley of Redwood Creek, along 
which tbe railroad runs; out of which valley it rises tier upon 
tier of handsome residences, stores, churches, schoolhouses, 
lodges, livery stables, etc. On a rise of land from twenty five to 
fifty feet above the level of the railroad it has already con- 
structed several fine hotels, two livery stables, a Methodist .and 
Presbyterian church, eleven general stores, good schools, etc. 
Wilson is a relay station and on its site is much valuable prop- 
erty belonging to the Louisville, New Orleans and Texas Rail- 
way Company, viz: the Yalley Hotel, the depot building, 
repair shops, coal chute, and the large round houses, etc.. 
with a fair prospect of other public building, being erected 
in the near futui-e. It is said to be the best place for a cash 
business between Vicksburg and New Orleans. The morals of 
the town, which may be pronounced without I oasting, ex- 
ceptionably good, and it may be truly said to be one of the 
healthiest localities in the State of Louisiana, with its pine, 
chalybeate waters, mild and invigorating climate. There are con- 
siderable vacant lands lying north and east of Wilson that can 
be bought at reasonable figures, that are susceptible of being 
put in a high state of cultivation, producing forty and fifty 
bushels of corn per acre and from one to one and a half bales of 
cotton per acre, and is well adapted to truck and f.-rm gardens, 
orchards, etc. All of the smaller cereals grow prolifically. On 
the southeast, Wilson is makirg a winning fight with Clinton 
for the trade; on the north, Wilson is making a hard fight with 
the enterprising and competitive town of Norwood, with its 
large capital, that is so much needed to build up a town; and 
on the west by Jackson. I predict that, in the course of fifty 
years, the four little towns will be blended in one large city 
with Wilson as its great railroad center. Fiiends, look to your 
future interest and with open arms invite capital and encour- 



"east FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT." 33 

are imioration. that is so much reeded to build up and develop 
one of the finest countries on God's green earth. 

By giving insertion of the foregoing special sketch of the 
Town of Wilson and contiguous country you will do a work that 
will be highly apprecialed by the good people of Wilson and 
your obedient servant and well-wisher. 

Truly and respectfully yours, 

E. M. HOOPER, M. D , 
Mayor of Wilson, East Feliciana Parish, La. 



PIONEERS OF THE FIFTH WARD. 

I am so habituated, Mr. Editor, to chronological arrangement 
that I think I would not begin writing a history of Rome before 
making close and critical search for vesfisres of the wall, to build 
which, Romulns cut down the reeds of Tiber, nearly three thous- 
and years ago. My present search is limited to the inquiry 
"Who made the earliest blazings of civilizations in the fifth 
ward of East Feliciana?." 

Tradition carries us then back, in answer to this question, to 
the closing years of the last century; when the tbree Yarborough 
brothers from Georgia, and Joseph Felps, from the same State, 
in company with his brothers, James, Thomas and David; and 
as part of the same imraigration movement, those sturdy old 
frontiersmen, Isaac Tsiylor from Pennsylvania, and Robert Net- 
tles and Thomas Albritton from South Carolina, who commenced 
to make their hatchet clearings, to lav off fence rows and to build 
log cabins with puncheon floors in the heart of the primeval for- 
ests and cane brakes, the dark green curtains of the water- 
courses, which irrigated and fertilized the lovely valleys of the 
Fifth Ward, in the year 1798. 

And two years later came into the same community another 
colony from Elbert County, Georgia, which included several 
well-rpm*^mbered pioneers, who figured conspicuously in shaping 
our civilization, namely: Charles Ingraham, James Higginbot- 
ham, Matthew Edwards, Natt Cobb and William Blount. 

Mr. Ingraham, who cleared the place now owned by Mr. I. 
T. Felps, w^as a worker in wood, possessing a large and active 
mechanical genius, and to him the settlers were indebted for the 
first grist and saw mill, and he was likewise the owner of several 
slave mpchanics, workers both in iron and wood, and Ingraham's 
mill and blacksmith shop were leading land marks for many 
years, of which there are still some vestiges. 

His old Elbert Couniy neighbor and friend, James Higgin- 
botham, who likewise was a slave owner, was the Master of the 



34 "east feliciatja past and present. 

first lodge of Masons organized in East Feliciana. He lived and 
died on bis first clearing, but his sod, John B., on his father's 
death, moved eastward into the Sixth Ward, Dear Nat Cobb and 
William Blount and the Briants, who had migrated from the 
banks of the Comite river, in the Fifth, to the valley of the Amite, 
in the Sixth. Throughout his long and active life, John B. Hig- 
ginbotham was a strong pillar of the Methodist Church, an 
earnest and devout class leader. It is one of the traditions of 
the Elbert County colony, along the Comite, that young Charles 
Ingraham was the first Anglo American to die, and that his father 
put him away in a solid lightwood coffin, which was made air 
tight by ingenious devices without corroding nails. 

As the Felps and Yarborough brothers certainly came into 
the wilds earlier than the Elbert County colony, those earliest 
leaders of the column of civilization have had so much influence 
in shaping the societies which they founded that each may claim 
a short biographical paragraph. 

James Felps founded the ancestral seat, seven miles east of 
Clinton, on the Grreensburg road, in the Eighth Ward. His 
brothers, Thomas and David Felps, founded their family seats 
two miles south of him, on the banks of Bluff Creek, in the Sixth 
Ward. 

The fourth brother, Joseph, whoi-e descendants still cling in 
large numbers around the "clearing" which their ancestor made 
in 1798, a little south of the present site of Clinton, chose his 
home in the Fifth Ward. 

The three Yarborough brothers, who came from Georgia 
with the Felps, founded their homes along the banks of Pretty 
Creek, in clannish proximity, in the Fifth Ward. Lewis Yar- 
borough made his hatchet clearing and built his log cabin (which 
I have seen standing in good repair, in 1825) just between the 
present store of Mr. E. Carow and the new residence of Henry 
Hartner. His descendants, not long ago, under the advice of 
Judge J. B. Smith, contemplated bringing suit for all the land 
on which the town of Clinton now stands . 

James Yarborough founded his seat on the heights west of 
Pretty Creek, within 200 yards of the present residence of Mr. 
H, A. White; and his descendants, of whom Mrs. A. Levi, of 
New Orleans, is one, have contributed their loyal quota to the 
social development of their neighborhood. 

The third brother, Stephen Yarborough, was perhaps the 
most energetic and successful of the brothers. He founded his 
seat and handsomely improved the heights, on which Hon. T. S. 
Adams now lives, from which there is a pleasant prospect of 
green, fertile valleys and forest-clad hill. The career of Stephen was 
prosperous without any adverse break for jears, during which he 
added a water saw and grist mill and gin to his possessions, until 



"east I*EL1CIA1JA PAST and PliliSENT. 3^ 

he planted his numerous broad and Jertile acres of Pretty Creek 
bottoms in sugar cane. 

He lost his crop in the futile endeavor to express the juice 
from his canes with water power, which was totally inadequate. 
This costly failure and the loss of his first wife suggested to the 
lonely widower of Pretty Creek the need of a partner to share 
his sorrows. Nature abhors a void, and so did Stephen, the 
uxorious widower, who, inspired with the resolution to find a 
suitable partner to fill the void, spruced up one fine Sunday 
morning in a glossy broad cloth suit, spotless linen, shiny beaver, 
tight buckskin gauntlets and patent leather boots, and rode 
upon a showy charger, prancing and curvetting, to the fence 
around the mansion in wnich Judge Brame now resides. Inside 
the building were the bright black eyes of the very pretty brun- 
ette Widow Morgan, who sat in widowed meditation, fancy free, 
biding her time. To accompany the bright eyed widow to 
church was the objective point of Stephen, and to that same ob- 
ject the widow cheerfully co-operated. The acquaintance thus 
initiated soon ripened into a rapid exchange of notes, in which 
the widower's words, carefully selected from that casket of sigh- 
ing lovers "the complete letter-writer," fairly sparkled with the 
Pomethean fire, to which the widow, with experience of thirty 
winters and a former surrender, was coy and very shy, without a 
soupeon of gush or any of those traps into which soft and silly 
maidens often fall. As the correspondence developed the fur- 
naces on the "Heights" became hotter and blighter. In the 
course of time, when the fire grew dim for want of fuel, and 
when the flashes from Pretty Creek ceased to illuminate the 
widow's casket* of epistolary jewels, the thrifty widow unmasked 
a battery from behind the columns of Judge Brame's brick house, 
which struck terror to the heart of Capt. Adam's uxorious prede- 
cessor in his lofty tower on Pretty Creek. The artless, coy, 
. bright-eyed widow filed with the Clerk of the District Court a 
suit for breach of promise, and $10,000 damages to salve a broken 
heart, and founded her suit on twenty odd carefully folded, 
labelled and numbered proposals of marriage. 

Imagine Falstatf before Henry the Fifth's Chief Justice, de- 
fending himself from the clamorous asseverations of Dame 
Quickly, alleging that the oleagenous old scamp had deceived 
her into various and sundry money loans, and broken her sus- 
ceptible heart by numberless promises to make her his wedded 
wife. Imagine the placid and rotund Mr. Pickwick defending 
himself from the matrimonial aspirations of Mrs. Bardell, and 
you will have a "fac-simile" of the fat widower of Pretty Creek 
before the court in .Clinton, on the trial of the suit styled "The 
widow Morgan vs. Stephen Yarborough. Of all the lawyers, 
jurors and witnesses in that celebrated case none that I know of 
are left to tell the tale, except the ex-Chief Justice Merrick and 



36 "east FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT.*' 

this writer. Recalling the ludicrous incidents of that memor- 
able scene, in which the two most conspicuous champions of the 
much damaged widow were the late Tuomas Green Davidson, of 
Livingston, and the late Henry Marston, Esq. The first pro- 
claimed himself to be the volunteer defender of injured inno- 
cence; the latter a knightly old gentlemen from under the shadow 
.of Faneni Hall, who promenaded the lists, ready to break a 
lance with whoever presumed to sneer at the aggravated wrongs 
of the wounded dove, who was seeking salve for a broken heart. 
As the venerable Tom Green Davidson would extract a letter 
from the bulky package on which the widow's case rested, lean- 
ing on his crutch, and holding the letter in the other hand ap- 
pealing "Gentlemen of the Jury, I crave your close attention 
while I read to you another chapter of "Stephen on Love," a 
scene so rich vpas presented which beggars the numerous pre- 
sentations of Falstaff and Pickwick defending themselves from 
Widows Quickly and Bardell. The jury gave Mrs, Morgan 
$1000 damages, which was only realized alter a hard light in the 
Supreme Court, but the widow died before the decree was ren- 
dered and Mr. Marston, her chivalrous and steadfast friend, ad- 
ministered her estate, which was kept unsettled b^ the claim of 
her volunteer counsel for a fee of $500, which claim was 
resisted by the administrator on the ground that the volunteer 
had pui his hand on his heart and solemnly avowed before God 
and tlie jury he had no pecuniary interest, and old Tom died a 
few years afterwards, kicking himself because he had once in his 
life forfeited $500 in good money to impalpable gush. 

Before closing this sketch I desire to add that the water 
courses that form the eastern and western boundaries of the 
Fifth Ward and Pretty Creek which courses through it diagon- 
ally from N. E. to S. W., afford large bodies of fertile meadow 
land, that its soil on hill and valley can be easily and cheaply re- 
juvenated, and therefore in its reproductive capacity and splen- 
did pastoral advantages, it is the equal of the most favored 
wards. That its area of cheap, idle, waste and abandoned lands 
is large, owing to the scarcity of laborers, and that in the ruatter 
of good society, good churches and good schools, it possesses 
inducements whicU are very attractive to the roving body of 
home-seekers, for whom this sketch has been written. Hoping 
it will reach them and attract them, I remain, yours, etc., 

H. SKIPWITH. 



''east Feliciana past and present.'* 39 



GDttEatWE IMSTtTUTE, 



For YOUNG LADIES, 

Clinton, Louisiana. 



SESSION 1890-91. 



ADVANTAGES. 



LARGE ENDOWMENT. HEALTHFUL LOCATION- 

MODERATE TERMS. FREE SCHOLARSHIPS. 
EASY ACCESSIBILITY. 



40 " EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT. ' 



BOARD OF TRUSTEES. 



Kev. M. B. Shaw, President - - - Clinton, La. 

Hon. D. W. Pipes, Secretary - - - Clinton, La. 

Hon. W. H. Pipes, Treasurer - - - Clinton, La. 

Dr. L. G. Perkins - - - - East Feliciana, La. 

Judge J. G. Kilbourne - . - - Clinton, La. 

Rev. J. Y. Allison - - - - Baton Rouge, La. 

W. R. MgKowen, Esq. . - - - Jackson, La. 



OFFICERS AND TEACHERS. 

SESSION I»9U-yi. 



GEORGE J. RAMSEY, A. M., President, 
Ancient Language.^ and Modern Science. 

MRS. GEO. J. RAMSEY, Acting Lady Principal, 
Vocal 3fHsic and Art. 

REV. F. W. LEWIS, A. B. (W. & L. Univ'ty), 
Mathematics, Mental and Moral Science. 

MRS. T. S. STEVENS, 
History and Composition. 

MISS SUSIE G. KILBOURNE, 

English Language and Literature. 

MISS EMMA KILBOURNE, 

English. 



Modern Languages. 

MRS. J. A. WHITE, 

Primary Department. 

MISS O. E. HARDESTY, 

Inst rumen tal Music. 



''east FELICIANA PAS* AND PBESEnT.*' 41 

DR. JAMES KILBOURiNE, 

Attendant Physician and Lecturer on Physiology and Hygiene. 

MISS JENNIE SCOTT, 

Stenography and Typewriting. 

MRS. S. P. SAUNDERS, 

Matron. 



BUILDINGS. 



These were erected at a cost of $30,000. They are of brick, 
large, well ventilated, and present a very handsome appear- 
ance. The grounds embrace ten acres, a large part of which 
is densely covered with beech and magnolia, and used only for 
play grounds and rambles. The water is from underground 
cisterns, caught from slate roofs, and therefore of the purest 
quality. The buildings have been, during the past three years, 
placed in thorough repair and furnished anew throughout, 
and the rooms will always contain every comfort and conve- 
nience. 



HEALTH. 



The town of Clinton, situated in the "hill country" of Lou- 
isiana, is one of the healthiest in the State. No local cause of 
disease exists. No epidemic has visited the town since 1855. 
On the contrary, the beneficial effect of the genial climate and 
pure atmosphere upon persons afflicted with pulmonary or ma- 
larial diseases has been clearly demonstrated by the experience 
of a large number of pupils during past years. In the interior 
management of the school attention to the health of the pupils 
is made a matter of the first moment. 



4:2 " EAST FELICIANA tAS* AND PRESilNT.' 



PIONEERS OF THE SIXTH WARD. 

Notwithstanding, Mr. Editor, that this sixth sub-division of 
East Feliciana has been sneeringly nick-named "the Dark Cor- 
ner," I find on closer scrutiny that its annals are as full of stir- 
ring incidents, its settlement as early, its progress as fast and its 
social development as healthy and steady as in any of the other 
wards, aud a glance at its admirable distribution of forest and 
stream, of meadows and valleys and picturesque building sites, 
on the crown of its lofty ranges of forest clad hills, will convince 
the home seekers that I am sketching one of the choicest haunts 
of civilized man; a land conspicuously adapted to the uses of 
agricultural aud pastoral endeavor. 

The bold and turbulent Amite, with its wealth of broad and 
fertile bottoms, and its miles of dense primeval forests, is the 
ward's eastern border, Sandy Creek, a smaller stream of living 
waters, presenting on a smaller scale the same features as are 
found along the Amite, is the xcedern boundary of the ward. The 
same general features likewise attach to the courses of its two 
diagonal feeders, namely Hunter's Branch, which rises a little 
north of the centre and flows south-west into Sandy Creek, and 
Bluff Creek which also rises north of the centre and discharges 
south-east in the Amite river. It is almost needless to add that 
the flocks and herds of the Sixth Ward never suffer for water, 
and the meadows bordering all these streams in large broad 
bodies of fertile land hold out a promise of rich remuneration to 
agricultural and pastoral endeavor. It goes, too, almost without 
saying, that the bold headlands hemming in these streams abound 
in picturesque sites, calling eloquently to roaming pilgrinls to 
stop and build and beautify a home. 

It has already been asserted in these sketches that there 
were two tidal waves, which floated into these wilds; two streams 
of immigrating humanity; some by single spies, some by fami- 
lies, and some by whole neighborhoods. 

The first ivave was set in motion by the treaty with Spain in 
1795, which defined the 31st parallel of north latitude as the 
boundary between Spain's provinces of Florida and the United 
States, and also guaranteed to American citizens, for three years, 
the right of deposit. On this first wave came into the Sixth 
Ward, to battle with the bears, panthers and wolves for posses- 
sion and a peaceful home, John Morgan and Morgan Morgan, 
who having emigrated from Virginia to the wilds of Kentucky 
with their relative Daniel Boone, soon after the revolutionary 
war, turned their migratory longing southward in 1796, and in 
company with the Vardells and Thackers, founded their homes 
in the Sixth in the broad and fertile Amite valley. Impelled by 
the same wave, though not quite so early, but before the close of 
the century, came the Chaneys from South Carolina, the Phelps 



EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT. 



43 



from Georgia, and John Hobgood from Virginia. These early 
coDier.s founded seats along the valleys *of Bluflf .Creek, except 
Capt. James Hobgood, whose early life was so eventful and full 
of interesting incidents, as to suggest a separate biographical 
paragraph. James Hobgood was a Virginia lad during the Revo- 
lution, with strong longings to go and fight for Washington and 
freedom, but being too j^oung was denied enlistment. After the 
war closed, the restless, aspiring lad commenced his migrations 
southward, through the Carolinas, stopping in South Carolina 
long enough to fascinate a blue-eyed daughter of the Bartiekls, 
who came with him to found a home on the plantation in the 
Sixth Ward, now owned and cultivated by Mr. Porter Rowley. 
The ancestor of the Hobgoods was not only one of the earliest 
comers, but was for many 3'ears the most conspicuous figure of the 
early society of the Sixth Ward, especially at "House Raisings" 
and "Log Rollings" and all other occasions at which physical 
strength always won the crown of admiratioD. He was a long 
armed, heavily muscled athlete, and as a jumper, wrestler and 
fighter had no equal. His son, Mr. W. B. Hobgood, relates with 
pai'donable pride the feats of prowess of his gigantic ancestor, 
but he had one weakness, for which Billy, after the lapse of over 
half a century, has not been able fully to forgive him. When the 
oats were ready for the harvest the long armed old giant would 
shoulder his scythe and buckle on his canteen full of whiskey, 
and his son Billy was summoned to carry a fresh pail of water, 
and when the day's work was done the canteen was always 
empty, but Billy had been rigidly confined to the contents of the 
pail of water, and to this day Billy protests that he was the vic- 
tim of a most unfair distribution of the fluids. 

Within a year or two of those already mentioned came from 
G-eorgia, the Cobbs, Higginbothams, Carrolls and Blonnts, 
and the Barfields from South Carolina, who founded their seats 
along the Amite river. While these eastern colonists were de- 
veloping their scattered communities, settlements were being 
made on the western border, along the valley of Sandy Creek, by 
the Hatchers, Storys, McMurrays and Gideon White. 

A little later, say about six years, the earliest of that large 
column of immigration which was set in motion by Mr. Jeffer- 
son's proclamation of ISOii, announcing the purchase of Louis- 
iana, came B. M. G. Brown, senior, who brought his wife, his 
little ones, arid his slaves, and his chattels, in 1804, from Darling- 
ton District, South Carolina, to found a new home on the banks 
of Hunter's Branch, in the Sixth Ward, near the line of the 
Baton Rouge road, where he reared and equipped his four sons. 
Major Reddin Brown, B. M. G. Brown, jr., Elly Brown and Eli 
Brown, for active, useful and honorable service in the van of 
civilization, around their southern homes. 



44 " EAST FELICIAXA PAST AND PRESENT.'* 

Nearly contemporaneons with the Browns, the society of the 
ward was recruited by the Lees, Keddins, Carrolls, and by the 
mother of Sothey Hayes, and the late Sheriff Jno. W. Hayes, who 
came, a brave widow frona South Carolina, to found a new home 
for her sons in the wilds of the Sixth Ward. 

There were two of the early workers prominent in shaping 
the Sixth Ward society, not yet mentioned. The earlier comer 
of the two was Ezra Courtney, who came in 1802, in company 
with liis young wife from Darlington District, South Carolina, 
by flat boat to Cole's Creek and Bayou Pierre to engage in the 
work of organizing the scattered, unconnected members of his 
church. Feeling his way down South he established head- 
quarters a stone throw north of the line of demarkation, at the 
bridge over Beaver Creek where the Liberty and Jackson road 
crosses. While there he contributed largely in founding and 
organizing the powerful Baptist congregation at Ebenezer Church, 
and there, too, under shade of a big oak, he est<iblished a Gretna 
Green for the celebration of marriage rites which were forbidden 
south of the line to any but Koman Catholic priests. 

After the expulsion of the Spaniards in 1810, the Rev. Mr. 
Courtney founded his home, in 1812, on the southern border of 
the Sixth Ward, where he went to work earnestly and effectively 
to his new field of effort, as is attested by the rapid growth and 
consolidation of powerful Baptist communities with houses of 
worship at "Hole in the Water," "Bluff Creek" and "Hephzibah," 
the two first being in the Sixth, the last in the Eigrhth Ward. 

Notwithstanding Mr. Courtney was so effective in founding 
the Baptists in the Southern border, the rival sect of the Meth- 
odists still held the Northern border for the Methodist faith, 
which had a fiery and zealous defender in the person of the Rev. 
Jno. B. Higgiubotham. Whether good old Uncle Johnnie was a 
regularly ordained Methodist minister I am not informed, but 
he was a power after the order of Wesley's famous itijierants, 
and his fluent tongue supported by the Carrolls, Cobbs, John 
George and Jones Booker, rallied many recruits to the Method- 
ist ffiith, and when Gilead church was rolled on wheels out of 
the Eighth Ward into the Sixth, old Uncle Johnny and his co- 
religionists slept much more securely behind the new bulwarks 
of their faith. 

Before closing my narrative of the religious movement in 
the Sixth Ward it would be inaccurate not to mention that the 
religious bodies in the ward were first assembled under a com- 
mon standard by the famous Lorenzo Dow, who, after a year's 
notice sent in advance from Alabama, preached on the bill where 
Captain Lewis McManus now resides, their first sermon to the 
assembled hermits of the adjacent canebrakes, after which the 
famous preacher sought the repose of a log cabin on a high 
bluff, on Mill Creek just before it loses itself in the jungles of 



EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT. 



45 



the Amite river swamp, the same on which Mr. Robert Perkins 
now resides, there to give back to bis great taskmaster the mis- 
sionary staff he had faithfully borne through many lands, and 
ask his final discharge, and there the bones of the renowned 
preacher now await the Resurrection. It is a notable instance 
of neglect and ingratitude, that the grave of the greatest of 
"Wesley's itinerants should be left without even a Head Board. 

Recurring to the present home of Mr. Porter Rowley, as a 
famous nursery of two leading Sixth Ward families, namely the 
Hobgoods and Collins, after the stalwart ancestor of the Hob- 
goods had moved his home into the Eiohth Ward, just on the 
margin of the Amite bottoms, old Captain Jack Collins, whose 
mother and father emigrated from Richland District, S. C, 
with a large number of slaves and herds, to build a home in these 
Southern wilds, when the century and their son Jdhn were just 
two years old, established in the vacated Hobgood home the an- 
cestral seat of that family. The coining of Captain Jack Collins 
into his Sixth Ward home was much delayed by the murder of 
his father, who was killed en route by a drunken Creek Indian, 
after which his mother fixed her abode in Amite County, Miss., 
where she reared and educated her son John, who completed the 
voyage his father commenced in 1802 by founding a home and 
rearing a family near the Amite river in the Sixth Ward. 

A cursory glance at the vast areas of abandoned fields of 
this ward would suggest unfavorable conclusions regarding its 
soil, but there are plenty of once abandoned fields within its bor- 
ders which have been restored by good farming to their origi- 
nal fertility, and plenty of demonstrations that it pays to rescue 
the soil from the debilitating influences of slovenly, ante bellum 
methods, and there are, moreover, plenty of advanced Sixth 
Ward farmers who have grown strong and rich while feeding 
high their old abandoned fields. Of the 25,000 uncultivated 
acres of this ward, which are held at prices varying from $3.00 
to $10.00, every acre can easily be brought back to a pitch of 
productiveness which will } ield a bale of cotton to the acre. 

The dwellers in the ward point gloomily to the latent forces 
which want of laborers leaves idle and asleep, and they promise 
cordial welcome and all the amenities of generous hospitality to 
all agricultuial recruits who will help with capital and labor to 
restore thtir waste and bald places. 

That the old Sixth Ward is advancing with rapid strides to 
a better farming system is evidenced by the existence of a Far- 
mers' Union, at Gilead, which shapes intelligently and stimulates 
a new school of agricultural effort. With its three Farmers' Unions, 
its three churches, its school-houses wherever there are children to 
be educated, and claiming the credit of having contributed to 
the body politic two good sheriffs and two live representatives, 
the Sixth presents a record of progress so creditable as to re- 



46 



EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT. 



pel with scorn the insinuation of being "the dark corner." On 
the contrary they point proudly to their achievements in the 
march of civilization, and deny that there is in all the haunts of 
civilized man, cheaper, better protected and more productive 
homes than there are to be found in the Sixth Ward. 

Hoping the recruits so much needed will come ere long, I 
remain, yours, etc., H. SKIPWITH. 



PIONEERS OF THE SEVENTH WARD. 

About the time when the Yarboroughs and Phelps and the 
other colonists migrated from Elbert County, Georgia, at the 
close of the late century, into the Fifth Ward to make their 
clearings and found their homes along the margin of the Comite 
river and Pretty Creek, another band of colonists were waking 
cane brakes and primeval forests of the Seventh Ward which bor- 
ders the Fifth on the north. These last had commenced their 
migration from South Carolina soon after the ti-eaty of 1795 with 
Spain, and meandered through the Yazoo purchase, feeling their 
way, via Natchez, Gallatin, Liberty, Cole's Creek or Bayou 
Pierre, down south to the line of demarkation. After Mr. Jeffer- 
son's proclamation of October, 1808, which asserted a construc- 
tive claim to the purchase of Spain's province of West Florida 
the policy of eucournging immigration from "The States" was 
revoked by the Spanish government, and the wilds, south of the 
line of demarkation, were hermetically sealed to immigrants of 
the Anglo-Saxon stripe. Among the earliest comers into the 
Seventh Ward were David Pipes, Sr., Ben Graves, Jno. C. and 
Thos. Flynn, and Thos. East, from Edgefield District, S. C, who 
founded his home on the place familiarly known in after years 
as the residence of Dr. Isaac Caulfield, and to this list ought of 
right to be added the names of the ancestor of the Harrell fam- 
ily, for it is a well attested trarlition that Hezekiah Harrell was 
sent as early as 1802 by his father, fat old Levi Harrell, of 
Charleston District, S. C, to explore these southern wilds for a 
home large enough for his "old folks," the little ones, the slaves 
and the herris. In discharge of his mission, Hezekiah, having 
obtained a liberal Spanish grant, commenced a "hatchet clear- 
ing," in 1802, on the banks of Pretty Creek, just at the foot of 
"Mount DeLee." While cutting the canes, Hezekiah would pru- 
dently at night, retire up in the forks of the trees, from which se- 
cure but uncomfortable roost he would calmly observe the gambols, 
wrestlings and fights of bears, panthers and wolves, which was 
as good as a play. His pilgrimage closed by a return to the old 
folks at home, and his report was so satisfactory that active pre- 
parations for a general exodus of the Harrells, from Charleston 



" EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT." 47 

DistriH, commencefl and took up the line of travel by flat boats 
down the head watprs of the Tennpssee river, hravina the hid- 
den rocks, eddies, cataracts and whirlpools of the Mnscle Shoals. 
The patriarch of this exodus, Mr. Levi Harrell, died upon his 
jo':rnev in 1803, and the duty devolved upon Hezekiah to lead 
the children, slaves and herds, via Natchez, down to his hatchet 
clearinfy at the foot of "Mount DeLee" on Pretty Creek. 

Finding Jno. C and Thos. Flynn in possession, he passed on 
higher up alonj? the marofin of Pretty Creek, where he founded the 
family home (under the g^uarantees of the Spanish crown), thirty 
acres of which was cultivated this its eighty-sixth year, by his 
grandson, Mr. W. C. Kent, who, with two hands and two ploNVS, 
made 25 bales of cotton, several hundred barrels of corn, and 
several hundred gallons of syrup. 

The colonizing of the Seventh Ward, thus far chronicled, 
was fostered and encouraged by the policy of Spain, but in 1803 
that liberal policy was revoked, and that class of settlers which 
came after 1803 below the line of demarkation, came at their 
own risk and held their clearings by the strong hand against the 
prowling wild beasts and prying Spanish soldiers, Alguazils and 
tax gatherers. 

Of this latter class of unbidden guests, earliest and most 
conspicuous was old Major Sam Norwood, who came in 1806 
with his sons, nnmelv: Elias, Noel. John, Ezekial and Abel T. and 
his daughter Elizabeth, afterwards Mrs. George Keller, his 
slaves, his chattels and herds; a big boned, heavy muscled, true 
hearted race of men who migrated from Darlington District, 
South Carolina, in 1804, by the flat boat route, down the head 
waters of the Tennessee, through the perils of the Muscle Shoals 
and the Mississippi river, to Natchez, whence they journeyed by 
land to the wilds of the Seventh Ward, just below the line of 
demarkation, and founded their ancestral seats along the margin 
of the Comite river and Richland Creek. In the same line of 
immigration with the Norwoods came out of Darlington and 
tJnioTi Districts, S C, the Scotts, Winfers, Eobbins, McKneelys 
and McCants into the Third Ward, and also old Mr. Henry Dunn, 
who founded a home for his children and numerous slaves in the 
Seventh Ward, a mile or two east of the Norwoods. These three 
families of Harrell, Norwood and Dunn prospered and multi- 
plied exceedingly, and had large influence in shaping the civili- 
zation of their community through several peaceful years, which 
calm was rudely broken by the Au'erican revolt in 1810 against 
the Spanish authority. After 1806 the tide of immigration 
ceased to flow into the Seventh Ward until 1814, in which event- 
ful year John Rowley, a solitary immigrant from Beaufort 
District, S. C. , commerced to build a log cabin abont a stone's 
threw from the present residence of Mr. Frank Wood, ps an 
humble residence for his wife and twin babies, the door of which 



48 "east FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT." 

was still unfinished when news came by Gen. Cuffee's couriers 
"That the British had landed!" and that Gen. Jackson in New 
Orleans was badly in need of men, arms and horses. 

Hitherto my narrative depicts the pioneers developing and 
expanding the arts of peaceful civilization, building homes, clear- 
ing, fencing, planting orchards and farms during a period of 
peace, the calm iufluences of which were only distuibed in 1810 
by the brief and bloodless revolt which expelled the Spanish 
authority. Novp, in 1814, the first call is made upon them to de- 
fend the homes they have built. Gen. Coffee, whose headquar- 
ters were estabhshed at Baton Rouge late in the snmtner of 1814, 
had sent his worn out cavalry horses into the East Feliciana pas- 
tures to rest and recruit. An order to him fiom Gen. Jactson, 
dated New Orleans, Dec. 17th, summoned him to come with all 
the men, horses and arras he could raise, and "not to sleep 
until he got there," caused the sending of couriers with the 
startling news that "The British had landed, and Gen. Jackson, 
in New Orleans, was badly in need of men, arms and horses." 
The news thrilled all hearts in the scattered hamlets of East 
Feliciana like the sound of the midnight tocsin stiired the emo- 
tional Parisians. It looked like the land had been sown with the 
fabled Dragon's teeth to see an armed and mounted man spring 
out of every canebrake. Gen. Coffee's recruiied cavalry hovses 
were started in a gallop back to Baton Rouge, each with a bold 
East Feliciana rider on his back, with his sire's old riflle, which 
had sent messages of death to the British on the Revolutionary 
battlefields Even the 12-year-old boys caught up the shaggy, 
pot-gutted ponies in their canebrake hiding places, saddled up 
and spurred on to Baton Rouge. Old John Rowley nailed up a 
blanket as a substitute for the unfinished door of his log cabin, 
and committing Esther and the twins to the care of God, gal- 
oped off with his rifle for Baton Ri3Uge- 

On the night of December 23rd, when Gen Coffee sent an 
answer to his chief's peremptory order of the 17th fiom his camp, 
fifteen miles above New Orleans, saying: "I am here with fifteen 
hundred armed and mounted men," all East Eeliciana, from the 
boy of twelve to the grey beard of seventv slept under the folds of 
brave Coffte's banner that night. When Cofifee on the 27th 
and 28th was retiring sullenly, disputing evu'v inch of the 
way from the shore of Lake Borgne to the famous field of Chal- 
mette, the sharp crack of the East Feliciana rifle revived the 
echoes of Guilford Court House, Camden, and King's mountain, 
in the swamps of Lake Borgne. It is painful to narrate that, as 
Coffee retired before Packenbam's veteran Itigions, many a saddle 
was emptied of its bold East Feliciana rider. But it is sadder 
still to record the manner of the death of Thos. East, who came 
early into the Seventh Ward from Edgefield District, S. C, and 



" EAST FELICTANA. PAST AND PRESENT." 49 

founderl a home on the place afterwards owned by Dr. Isaac 
Caulfield. 

This Thos. East was the grand father of Dr. A, L. East, of 
the Plains, and taking service imrler Cofft^e, left his wife and 
infant child, in the care of his .young cousin, "William East, and 
fought unscratched through the skirmishes and battles around 
New Orleans. Afier his disfhtirge, in c< mpany with many of his 
comrades, he cotnmenoefl his voyage home on a keel boat, to be 
cord' lied up to the Bluffs of East Feliciana. On the voyage he fell 
ill with measles, which terminated fatally, just as the boat tied 
up at the foot of the Bluffs, afterwards renowned as Port Hudson, 
where his remains repose on battle fields where the cracks of his 
old Revolutionary rifle was unheard, and where many of his old 
comrades in a,rius encountered death, defeat and starvation. 
The son he left in his cradle lived to propagate in many commu- 
nities the Baptist faith, on which he was a devdted believer. His 
pretty young wid'ow mariied John L. Delee, of Lincoln County, 
North Carolina, who after serving in the Creek, Seminole and 
Chalmette campaign came into the Seventh ward with an hon- 
orable discharge and there reared a large family which has been 
conspicious in Seventh ward society. 

In further illustration of the abilitv of our people to defend 
their homes, although it is a little outside the scope and design 
of my work, I will presume to revert to two episodes which ar- 
roused their fears for the security of the homes thev founded in 
the primeval fores's and cane breaks. In May, 1846, news came 
that the Western frontier of the Republic was invaded by a Mex- 
can army under Gen. Ampudia and that Gen. Zachary Taylor 
had but a handful of troops to encounter him. A company of 
125 East Felieianians under Capt. H. B Chase and another com- 
pany of the same number under Capt. Geo. C. Comstock report- 
ed in New Orleans, many months, in advance of the preparations 
made by the Government for arms and transportati<^n. The 250 
m^n were one-third of tlie white adults of the parish and it is no 
vain boast to say that the other two-thirds would have offered 
their services had not the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca De La 
Palma rendered it unnecessary. 

Again, in Nov. 1860, Breckinridge beat the Donglas and Bell 
and Everet tickets by a large majority but when in less than two 
months afterwards the question of secession came squarely up, it 
was negatived by a large vote, when, however the convention of 
Louisiana adopted an ordinance of secession, and there was no 
way out but to tight out. East Feliciana threw three full com- 
panies into the Fourth Rtgiment; one into the 16th; another in- 
to the 29th and a company into Scott's cavalry; in addition to 
which, two bodies of scouts, under Col. Edwin A Scott and Capt. 
John C. McKowen, were kept organized for Home Protection. 



50 ** EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT." 

From a military record uuiformly honorable and remarkable 
for patriotism, I turn to the more peaceful developments of the 
Cbiistian religion, which commenced in the Seventh ward soon 
after the expulsion of the Spanish authority. The earliest 
religious foundation of the ward was a small Presbeyterian 
House of Worship, named Friendship Church, situated about 
a hundred yards from Mrs. Currie's residence on Pretty creek. 
It had a small congregation, organized by the Eev. James 
Smiley and their pastor, in 1831, was the Rev. John Pat- 
terson, a >oung Scottisch Divine. This congregation was soon 
absorbed by their co-religionists of Comite church, which is 
still the house of worship of a large and powerful Presbyterian 
body of which the late David Pipes, Sr., and William Silliman 
were honored and revered members. However predominant 
the early Presbyterians may have been, th^y have since been 
confronted by the active and zealous Methodist and Baptist 
propagandists, if the younger denominations have not actually 
invaded the territories of the older, tht y have at least held it 
in check and barred, in a large mcMSure, its expansion. 

The Seventh Ward, though without a foot of ground re- 
quiring artificial drjiinage, Hnd though it embraces within its 
bodies as much good, fertile and fairly productive land as any 
of the other wards, has perhaps a larger area of utilized and 
abandoned places than any of those I have sketched. Sterility 
is not the cause of its unusually large bodies of waste and idle 
lands. Its surface w'as in the beginning of its civilization 
largely divested of its original forests and cane brakes by nu- 
merous slaves brought from South Carolina by its early and 
wealthy settlers. Before these slaves forests disappeared and 
fields were brought under cultivation on a large scale. When 
the forests were gone and the fields began to show bald spots, 
the tenants of the negro quarters had multiplied under a kind 
and paternal treatment at an amazing rate of increase. Most of 
the slave increase was transported, before freedom, to open and 
cultivate the alluvial lands west of the Mississippi, where they 
have since remained, and the abandoned surfaces of the ward 
deprived of their natural labor supply still to a large extent re- 
main uncultivated. The vast surface of abandoned land, say 
25,000 acres, is not worn out but a little tired from the sloven- 
ly farming of big slave plantations. This land can be bought 
at an average price of $5.00 per acre, perhaps lets and the sec- 
ond growth of j)ines, which clothe all the abandoned acres, 
will fence them. When fenced, at small additional outlay for 
fertilizers they can be made to produce a b^le of cotton to the 
acre. Indeed it may be truthfully added that there are pmall 
spots, all over the ward, which by its natural strength will 
bring a bale to the acre. 



EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT. 



51 



Before closing my picture of the Seventh Ward it is but 
simple justice to add that, notwithstanding so many appear- 
ances of decay its climate and soil are as good as any; its moral 
and social march has been as healthy as any; its lofty ranges 
of highlands present as many temptations to the judicious home 
seekers, as can be found elsewere in East Feliciana. 

Yours, etc., H. Skipwith. 



PIONEEES OF THE EIGHTH WAED. 

"When, in 1800, old Leonard Hornsby took passage on a flat 
boat aud floated out of South Carolina down the head waters of 
the TeDuessee river and around by the Ohio and Mississippi to 
Natchez, with all his father's slaves aud herds, his household and 
kitchen outfit, his wagons, teams and agricultural implements, his 
gunsmith and his one-legged shoemaker, his big mastiffs, bull 
dogs and deer hounds, he was tolerably well equipped to plant 
and defend and expand an outpost in the vanguard of civiliza- 
tion, which he did in 1802 in the forks of Beaver Creek and the 
Amite river, to which his Anglo-Saxon love of running waters 
had attracted him. This outpost of the Hornsby 's, in 1802, lies 
in the extreme corner of the Eighth Ward, and is now the prop- 
erty of Judge W. F. Keruan. When its site was selected there 
were none within hearing of his cock's crowing for day-break, 
except the sly, scheming foxes, thirhting for chanticleer's blood ; 
none to hear the deep-mouthed baying of his big dogs, except 
the frightened bears, panthers, wolves and deer. No human 
being was nearer than old Mr. Furlow, a Georgian, who, with a 
hermit's love of solitude, had planted his sohtary log cabin on 
the west side of Hepzibah Creek, about half a mile below the 
high hill, out of the sides of which gush the living waters as 
fresh and strong and life-giving as those which gushed from the 
rocks of Horeb when struck by Aaron's rod. The place is cen- 
tral and has had many different proprietors after old Mr. Fur- 
low was put away in his grave. His immediate successor was 
Daniel Eads, of Kentucky, who constructed the first grist mill 
just above where Hephzibah Church now stands. Two other 
leaders of Eighth Ward society, Elisha Andrews and Mfijor 
Doughty, followed Mr. Eads as proprietors of the Furlow place, 
and in 1812 or 1814 the Rev. Ezra Courtney, having organized a 
numerous Baptist congregation, selected the portion of the place 
lying on the east side of the creek for the site of a Baptist house 
of worship, to which was given the name of Hephzibah . 

Fudow, Eads, Andrews and Doughty, after life's fitful fever, 
all sleep quietly in their graves, but the head waters of Hepzibah 
Creek still ripple and gurgle joyously by the foot of holy Hepzi- 



52 " EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT." 

bah Church, the congregation of which multiplied amazingly 
uuder the zealous miuistratious of its venerable founder. It le- 
mained a harmonious brotherhood, without any family jars, ex- 
cept wheu old Chesley Jackson, one of Hephzibali's stock-boldei s, 
took it into his head to invite a Uuiversalist naiued Rogers to 
preach in Hepbzibah. Tljis desecration of the Hephzibah pul- 
pit by an uubaptized heretic who didn't believe m Sheol, was 
bitterly opposed by another body of orgaiiized Baptists, under 
the lead of that good CLirif?tiaii and ciiizen, Major Doughty, 
who locked the heretic out, and carried off the keys m their pock- 
ets. Then there was war in Hephzibah and the contending 
factions were not appeased until the Rev. H. D. F. Roberts, 
from Sumpter District, S C, with a diploma from Columbia 
College, and Rev. Thomas Adams, an impassioned and learned 
divine, fi'om Richland District, S. C, came to pour oil on the 
troubled waters. Uuder ihe impassioned appeals of thes^ two 
missionaries the conscience of the eighth ward was stirred to 
its lowest depths and the list of Hepzibah members rapidly 
doubled. Perhaps it will add to the interest of my narrative 
to say that Mr. Roberts left the work here to serve a pulpit in 
a Tennessee church, where he reared four promising sons, of 
whom our esteemed fellow citizen, J. M. Roberts, Esq., was one, 
and all of whom have been, from time to time, members of 
eighth ward society, as guests of their father's older brothers, 
Messrs. William and Sylvester Dunn Roberts, both immigrants 
from SumjDter Dis rict, iS. C. The Rev. Thos Adams founded 
a home and raised a family on the banks of Pretty creek, and 
continued his ministrations in the East Feliciana church until 
his death near Clinton in 1859, where he was buried, and over 
his honored grave the congregations he had so faithfully served 
united in erecting a handsome monument. 

After Furlow and Hornsby, the dim and scattered germs of 
Eighth Ward settlers were first recruited by John Chance and 
James Felps from Georgia, in 1803 and 1804, and probably by 
the ancestor of Jack, Booker and Smith Kent. Mr Ch;ince made 
his first clearing on the place in the Seventh ward on which in 
1806 old Mr. Henry Dunn moved with his family and slaves. 
This John Chance became conspicuous in the annals of the 
Eighth Ward, for long and honorable services as a leader 
through its early struggles, and as the founder of a numerous 
and powerful family by his marriage with Miss ZilphaDought}^ 
who came into the ward in 1806 in company with her father, 
old Mr. Levi Doughty, from Darlington District, S. C. In the 
same fleet of flatboats which floated the Doughtys out of South 
Carolina, down the head waters of the Tennessee and through 
the pexilous Muscle Shoals, down the Ohio and Missi sippi to 
Natchez, came out of the saiue neighborhood a column of immi- 
grants with their families, slaves and household goods; and 



EAST FELICIANA 1>AST AND PRESENT.'* 53 



from Natchez, on foot and in wagons, probably along the same 
trace which old Leonard Hornsby blazed out in 1802, to the 
banks of Beaver creek, near which most of these colonists com- 
menced their clearings. This large column of colonists coming 
into the ward in 1806, embraced the ancestors of the Dough- 
tys, Rentzs, Brians, Morgans and Widtes, who used to tell 
their descendants some thrilling tales of hairbreadth escapes 
from shipwreck on the snags, sawyers and hidden rocks in the 
unknown channels of the French Bioad, and how, appalled by 
the angry roar of the swift torrents, whirlpools and eddies of 
the Muscle Shoals, the immigrants frum Darlington District 
landed their wives, little ones and slaves at the head of the 
Shoals and trusted the ark contain ng their herds, household 
and kitchen and plantation outfits to a skilled Indian pilot, 
who, standing with his long pole at the bow, with his squaw 
at the helm, would brave the dangers of the perilous passage 
while the the humnn passengers footed around the shoals bv a 
"cut-off " ^ 

The Indian pilots brought most of the boats safely to the 
foot of the Shoals, but sometimes one would be wrecked and 
an outfit for a home in the wilderness would go to the bottom. 

Of this band of neighbors immigrating from Darlington 
District to the Eighth Ward in 18u6 there were some famous 
old pioneers who stamped the growing societies of the ward 
with the seal of their rugged, virtuous and useful characteris- 
tics. Old Mr. Levy D. ughty lived to extreme old age, and 
died honored and revered as a good citizen and Christian gen- 
tleman, by his friends and neighbois, the Stewarts, Humbles, 
and McAdams. Old John White, blacksmith, from Timmons- 
ville, S. C, fonnded the ancestral home of the Whites on the 
headquarters of Llear creek. He was the venerated sire of Mr. 
Eli White, who was the first born in the Clear creek hoiue in 
l8U7. In 1888 he was a venerable gentleman still reading the 
minion and agate ot the New Orleans Picayune without glasses, 
and it was from his lips the writer obtained the following vivid 
picture of life in an immigrant family from 1807 to 1815: "I 
never," said he, "tasted meat, except bear, venison and an oc- 
casional panther steak, until I was a good sized boy. The only 
milk I ever tasted was my mothers's, until my father returned 
to South Carolina, and brought out with him one of grandfa- 
ther's old cows. The dairy utensils my mother used were old 
fashioned, big bellied gourds, sawed in two, my only clothing 
until I rea. hed twelve years of age, was a long shirt of coarse 
cotton clo^th woven on mother's hand loom. I always went bare- 
footed, summer and winter, and my first pair of parts were ob- 
tained from mother, after pie. ding long and persistently. They 
were of the fruits of the same old hand loom, made in the old 
style with broad flap in front, a mile too big in the waist, and 



54: " EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT." 

couldn't be kept up without suspenders, for which there were 
no buttons." "These were very discouraging drawbacks," 
smilingly remarked the old man, "but father, who saw my dilem- 
ma, molded a set of buttons oat of an old broken pewter spoon, 
and then I could wear my pants, and I was as proud as a pea- 
cock. Oar farm in those days was a two acre patch which we 
planted ia corn and sweet potatoes and cultivated with a little 
pony and a scooter plow with a wooden shovel board." 

The venerable man who thus called from boyhood's mem- 
ories these charming details of the simplicity and scanty luxu- 
ries of frontier life, was the sire of a family almost as numerous 
as Jacob carried into Egypt to make bricks for Pharoah. In 
his eighty-third year, with intellect and all his faculties unim- 
paired, verily this Louisiana scion of a Darlington District stock 
was one of God's rarest physical conformations exceeding in 
preservation and endurance the average specimens of humanity 
in any other part of the globe. 

There was another large column of immgrants starting 
from Darlington District m 18U4 or 1805 voyaging by flatboats 
down the Tennessee and its headwaters for East Feliciana via 
Natchez, composed of the Scotts, Dunns, Perkins, Winters, 
Robins, McKneelys, all connected b}^ intermarriages with the 
Scotts of South Carolina who were near kindred to the Scotts 
of Virginia, from whom the great Winfield Scott derived his 
birth. Though starting earlier than the column in which came 
old Levi Doughty and John White, they arrived in the eighth 
ward later, because, at the head of the Muscle Shoals they di- 
verged in wagons from the river route around by Nashville and 
the Hermitage where they were hospitably entertained by "old 
Hickory." At the head of this last column was Lewis Pei- 
kins and his daughter Sarah, who was born in South Carolina in 
1791, aud his son James, born in the same State in 1800. When 
he reached the Eighth Ward in 180G, Mr. Lewis Peikins made 
his clearing on the banks of Little Beaver Creek, but soon aban- 
doned it to remo\e to another clearing just above the line of de- 
markation, impelled by hereditary and very natural reluctance 
to live under monarchial government. 

The clearing he abandoned on Little Beaver was soon after- 
wards developed by old Mr. William Stewart, of North Carolina, 
into a home for children who have groNvn up with the Ward and 
have always held an honorable place in its social ranks. 

Coming back to old Mr. Lewis Perkins, who moved at such 
short notice out of the King of Spain's dominions in 1806; ha 
lived but a short time in his last home, and died, leaving Saiah 
Perkins, at fifteen years, at the head of tbe orphaned fauiily. 
Notwithstanding her mother was a sister of Mrs. Henry Dunn, 
who lived just below the line, a close neighbor to the orphaned 
family, all the cares of her two young brothers devolved upon 



"east FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT.'' 55 

the iuex^eiieiiced giil of lifteen years. Youug as she was her 
trust was discharged with good judgment aud couscientious care 
and won the lastiug gratitude of her young brothers. She mar- 
ried, in 1817, a worthy and handsoiue young gentleman from 
Georgia, named Louis Talbert, with whom she reared a large 
and honored family; but even after the added cares of a grow- 
ing family began to exact much of her time and duty, she still 
clung with motherly tenacity to the two boys entrusted to her by 
her father at his death bed. This magnificent specimen of the 
highest type of womanhood died in 1888 ic full possession of 
her faculties which, unimpaired, had withstood the storms of a 
rough world for ninety-^even years. 

The two brothers, whose early boyhood she had so sedu- 
lously guarded and so intelligently guided, took high position in 
society when they became men. Doctor James Perkius became 
a famous physician, aud so much beloved, that he, an old Hue 
whig, was elected by a strong Democratic society to the State 
Senate in 1844. During his term of service, in an investigation 
of the notorious Piaquemine fraud, by which John Slidell, of 
the Tammany New York school, and not in any sense a Louis- 
ianian, stole the vote of the State from Mr. Clay, Dr. Perkins 
was chairman of the committee selected by the senate to invest- 
igate the alleged frauds. His searching and incisive scrutiny 
into the rottenness revealed many facts hitherto unsuspected, 
and which never have been refuted. His fame as a scientific 
practitioner of the abstruse mysteries of the healing art has been 
rivalled by his son, Dr. Lewis G. Perkins, and his two grandsons, 
Drs. James and Harry Kdbourne, the last of whom left Clinton 
a short while ago, full of youthful promise aud bright asiDirations, 
to practise his profession in the parish of Morehouse. He car- 
ried with him the loving wishes and fond predictions of the 
young and the old of his native town, and when the wires an- 
nounced that he had fallen a victim to malaria, there was not in 
his native town a family circle without sorrow, nor an eye un- 
dimmed by a tear. 

There have been many fine old characters and families which 
have been powerful in shaping the trend of Eighth Ward society, 
and the names of the Stewarts, Kents, Humbles, Geralds, Rog- 
ers, McAdams and Woodwards are intimately connected with its 
social annals. 1 regret my inability, from lack of authentic data, 
to give them a notice better proportioned to their social stand- 
ing and merit. 

As a faithful chronicler I cannot close my sketch without 
narrating my last interview with another of the ward's best 
known landmarks. A lady, fit to be the mother of a race of 
heroes and statesmen, who came into the ward as Mi^s Zilpha 
Doughty, from South Carolina, and after rearing a large family 
as the wife of John Chance, of Georgia, was left a widow with 



56 " EAST FfiLIClANA PAST ANt) PRESENT.' 

a large household to take care of. During the war a Missis- 
sippi regiment under orders for Port Hudson camped near my 
house in the suburbs of Cliuton one stormy night; the wind 
blew almost a hurricane and the rain came down in tonents. 
In the morning the half-drowned, shivering soldiers flocked 
around my kitchen fires for warmth and food, and all my 
scanty store were devoured by the hungry crowd In my dis- 
tress at finding my family without fo )d, I thought of the never 
empty smokehouse of my thrift}' old friend, Mrs Zilpha Chance. 
She, compassionating my destitution, took me to her smoke- 
house, in which the meat was assorted in three piles. She 
pointed to the largest pile, saying. "That is for the Confed- 
eracy; nobody can get that." "That," pointing to the smallest 
pile, she said, "is for my own use." Looking closely at the ^ize 
of the third pile, she hesitatingly remarked: '"Wt 11, I reckon 
you can get 150 pounds out of the pile at two bits a pound." 
The bargain was struck, the meat weighed and loaded into my 
wagon. When ready to leave, I pulled out a roll of "Green- 
backs" to settle for the meat. ,The grand old dame (I can see 
her now) folded her arms with imposing dignity, but witb an 
eye fiery with withering scorn, exclaimed: 'T have never yt t 
touched that hateful money, and have no use for it now. If 
you can pay me in Confederate money, I will take it, because I 
can pay my taxes with it." I stood humiliated and rebuked in 
the pi'esence of a "mother in Israel" who regulated her duties 
to the State by such elevated and patriotic rules of action. 
Pondering over the memorable scene, as I rode home, I won- 
dered how many women like Mrs. Chance and her neighbor, 
Mrs. Talbert, would it take to make a "small State great f 
Ten years ago I met a matron whose maxims and rules of con- 
duct were closely akin to the exalted standard held up by her 
near neighbors, Mrs. Chance and Mrs. Talbert. She was prob- 
ably a pupil of these two grand examplars; my last allusion is 
to Mrs. Andrew White. 

Tue Eighth Ward, like all the others, excf^pt the first and 
third, has large areas of abandoned, uncultivated fields, which 
once furnished luxury and plenty to the old slaveholders. 
Most of these have gone to render their last account, and their 
former slaves have migrated to newer and fresher soils, and 
their once spacious and comfortable homes await tenants with 
labor and capital to I'estore and make productive the cheap 
abandoned fields around them. Abounding as this wai d does 
in bold streams of living waters, which empty into the Amite 
river, its eastern boundary, or into Beaver creek, its northern 
boundary, or into Sandy creek, its western boundarj^ its sur- 
face pi-esents a broad scope of cheap and fertile lands, blessed 
with an unfailing water supply, and along its boundary streams 
and along its small tributaries as well, namely, Poole's creek, 



EAST lELlCIANA PAST AND PRESENT. 



57 



Clear creek aud Hephzibali creek are to be found manv small 
parcels of land which Will produce without fertilizing a bale of 
cotton to the acre. 

The mention of Clear creek in the foregoing paragraph re- 
minds me that I have omitted any reference to a large, power- 
ful and growing body of Methodists, who have constructed a 
commodious house of worship ou the banks of that stream- 
In a preceding sketch the men of East Feliciana have been 
described as faithful and loyal to law, in times of peace; and 
dauntless in war; and ever prompt, as in 1814, when the Brit- 
ish landed at Lake Borgne; as in 1846 when the Mexicans 
crossed the Kio Grande, and as in 1861, when the rights of 
their state was encroached ujDon, ever prompt lo bare the freeman's 
arm to strike for thi". freeman's home ! Three levies, en masse with- 
out any summons but the natural pulse beats of native patriot- 
ism. Three grand spectacles full of cheerful promise and hope 
to the patriot's heart ! But there remains a fourth pregnant 
with still grander and more sublime significance Although 
their homes were sacked by many a pilfering raid; although every 
house in the parish mourned its dead, whose bones lie bleach- 
ing on the battle fields of the war of the rebellion; as soon as 
the tocsin of war ceased to be heard in the disturbed land, this 
warlike population, charmed by the sweet music of the peaceful 
church bells on the Hallowed Day flocked to the shrines of a 
pure faith whose inspiration is 'Peace and good wi 1" and re- 
nounciug on their knees, the thirst for vengeance, the hatred 
and discords of four years of civil strife, solemnly renewed their 
vows of fidelity to a reunited country. 

With a few more words my sketch of East Feliciana and its 
social 1 fe will come to a close. I know this announcement will 
be hailed with pleasure by some few prejudiced critics who 
have already been c >mplaining that "his old legends tiie the 
ear; they are but the tedious twaddle of a garulous old man." 
As a class critics are not a new or original type of casuists. 
Nineteen hundred years ago their prototypes thronged the 
streets of Jerusalem, injecting into the ears of the wa farers 
their venomous sneers by asking, ''Is not this the Carpenter's 
son? Can any good come* out of Nazareth?" From such a pre- 
judiced judgment seat, I turn to a generous, fair minded pub- 
lic and ask tbeir verdict; whether my work has been skillfully 
or bunglingly performed? If their unfavorable conclusions 
are fairly deducible from my writings, then I have raked among 
the consecrated ashes of our ancestei'S, in vain. Against such 
unfriendly conclusions I ^till maintain, that h-^mage for the an- 
cestral dead is an instinct still alive in the breasts of all except 
sordid, mean, unworthy people An orator; seeking to warm 
the heart of his generation to some heroic deed of self-sacrifice, 
always points back to the tombs and monuments which en- 



58 "east feliciaka past and peesent. 

shrine the dust of the great chiefs who have served the state, 
in camp or in council; so too, have I, in the name of our Hu- 
guenot and Carolina ancestors, who founded our society, appeal- 
ed to the living to be worthy of the dead. In such an appeal I 
pay but merited homage to the rough-hewn symbols and im- 
ages of frontier life, which, if a little too rude for imitation in 
a smoother and more polished civilization, are, nevertheless, 
admirable m my eyes as images of Truth, Honor and Patri- 
otism. 

I have tried to picture a good land, the home of good peo- 
ple, with good soil, good climate, good laws, good chuiches 
and schools; if my picture fails to attract the home seekers, 
with capital and labor, in that case 'I shall confess that my aim 
has not been achieved. Such a confession will be made Avith 
deep regret, but without humiliation, for I honestly feel that I 
have done my best. With a sanguine hope for better results, 

I am, etc., 

H. SKIP WITH. 



RISE AND PROGRESS OF CLINTON. 

In my sketch of the pioneers of the Fifth Ward of East 
Feliciana, which, with a similar sketch of the other seven 
wards of the parish is now in the hand of the publishers nearly 
ready for publication in book form, but a short incidental 
glance of the town of Canton was given. This notable omis- 
sion has elicited some sharp, unfavorable, and I believe merited 
criticism. 

In atonement for an omission which assumes the complex- 
ion of intentional neglect and injustice to a widely known and 
renowned seat of educational, social and religious development, 
my only apology is that Clinton is the creation of circum- 
stances in A. D. 1824; whereas, the pioneers who made the first 
clearings within the border lines which now mark the boun- 
daries of the Fifth Ward, came into the ward in 1795, 1803-4-5 
and 6. 

As a full compensation for my omission I offer to His 
Honor, the Mayor, and town council of Clinton, the following- 
reliable history of the origin and progress of their town, which 
is also intended as a supplement to the sketch of "The Pioneers 
of the Fifth Ward." 

Tha oldest seat of population, commerce and education in 
East Feliciana is undoubtedly the town of Jackson, which in 
its palmiest of metropolitan days was the seat of justice of a 
County bounded on the east by the Perdido river, forty miles 
east of Mobile Bay; on the north by the line of demarkation 



"east FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT." 59 

established during General Washington's administration by- 
American and Spanish commissioners; on the south by the sea 
coast, and on the west by the Mississippi river. The biggest 
county ever laid out since the days of the original thirteen 
states, and its magnitude existed at a day before steamboats, 
railroads, telegraphs and telephones. But, alas ! as not many 
years after the creation of the big "County of Feliciana," with 
Jackson as its metropolis, Alabama budded from a territorial 
hoyden into a full grown State and wanted an outlet to the 
sea, that part of the big county which included Mobile city and 
bay was added to the dowry of the new comer into the family 
of states; and so, likewise, when the Territory of Mississipi^i 
applied for admission as a State, and all the old county of Feli- 
ciana which lay eastward of the Pearl river between Mobile 
and Pascagoula, Biloxi, Pass Christian and Bay St. Louis were 
all wrested out of the county of Feliciana to give our neighbors 
access to the sea when she was admitted into statehood; and 
thus crumbled away the vast territory under the county juris- 
diction of which our ancient and venerable neighbor, Jackson, 
was the metropolis. 

Between 1813 and 1824 the big county was further dis- 
membered by the creation of the parishes of St. Tammany, 
Washington, St. Helena and Livingston, thus reducing the 
county to the small territory on which the parishes of East and 
West Feliciana are now seated, and in 1824 the state govern- 
ment, impelled by complaints that the floods and quick sands 
of Thomj)sons creek established a barrier to the speedy and 
cheap course of justice; created the Parishes of East and West 
Feliciana, with instructions to the Police Jury of the Eastern 
Parish to establish its seat of justice in the centre of the par- 
ish. The commissioners ascertained by actual survey the cen- 
tre, in the middle of an old worn out field about two and a 
half miles west of Clinton, the old field being entirely destitute 
of forest or fountain. The commissioners selected the site for 
the parish seat on which Clinton now stands, because it was 
well watered by perennial sjDrings and by Pretty creek, and 
wooded by dense forests of pine and hard woods all around it. 

Two We stern mechanics and speculators, John Bostwick 
and George Sebor, were the actual, not mythical founders of 
Clinton after it was selected as the seat of justice for the par- 
ish. They bought most of the land now within the corporate 
limits— they built a small temporary courthonse, jail, and hotel, 
and laid out the streets and squares of a large city in the pros- 
pective. 

The writer came into Clinton in 1825 from where Wilson 
now stands by narrow bridle paths, all through dense cane 
thickets, extending after fording Pretty creek to the top of the 
hill on which the livery stable now stands. Around the court- 



60 " EAST FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT, " 

house square there were two frame houses used as country- 
stores and saloons, and between Carow's corner and Mr. Henry 
Hartner's dwelling, tliere stood in 1825, the dwelliner of the 
original proprietor (Louis Yarborough) and his family. The 
fertile and extensive back country east ui Clinton soon attract- 
ed mercantile enterprise and merchants reaped golden 
harvests; the disputes between landed proprietors, questions 
•af boundary and the rijiht of way, and the more vigorous col- 
li-ction of debts soon brought into the Forensic arena just 
opened a large body of intellectual recruits from the law 
schools all over the Union; and old Tully Robinson (the father 
of the East Feliciana bnr), who had been sent out early in the 
century by President Jefferson as U. S. District Attorney for 
the Territory of Orleans, and who, alter the Territory of Or- 
leans became the State of Louisi.na, clung to the county of 
Feliciana, as the last appanage of his official realm and made 
his home at the new seat of justice, found himself bearded by 
a guild of lawyers his equals in all the wire drawn arts of pro- 
fessional skill, though tbe old Settler still held all his rivals at 
bay in the brilliant science of rhetorical d splay. Among the 
aspiring spirits who first flocked to Clinton in search of profess- 
ional laurels where Lafayette Saunders, who held the parish 
judgeship and state senatorship, and would have been, had he 
lived until March ith, 1849, a member of General Taylor's fir.st 
cabinet; — Thomas L. Aodrews, — John R. Bullard, Jam s H. 
Muse, — Edwin T. Merrick (afterwards Chief Justice of Louisi- 
ana) —Thornton Lawson (afterwards District Judge) and R. W. 
Short, the two last having engaged in a personal controversy 
which was ended in a duel at Kellertown in which Short met 
his death at the first fire. Take these all in all the first gener- 
ation of the East Feliciana bar stood unrivalled in Louisiana, 
as able, adroit and eloquent advocates, and the second gener- 
ation of lawyers held up bravely the brilliant record of the first. 
Among the leading spiiits of the second gent-ration were such 
masters cf the art of rhetorical fire works as the late Colonel 
Preston Pomi, the late Jurlge John McVea ai'd the late Judge 
Charles McVea, Judge J. G. Kilbourne and Judge W. F. Ker- 
nan, all graduates of the old college of Louisiana at Jackson, or 
of old "Centenary." 

With such a brilliant Society of Intellectual Athletes it is 
no wonder that churches and schools were the first wants of a 
community fast gi owing in refinement and numbers. And with 
the co-operation of Clinton's old time merchants Clinton grew 
and prospered amazingly. The religious societies, spying a new, 
populous and unredeemed field of effort, soon added their mite 
to the moral leverage which was leavening the precincts of the 
new court house; churches went up on every spare lot, and "old 



"east FELICIANA PAST AND PRESENT.'' 61 

Grocery Row," a second edition of "Natclipz Under The Hill," 
went down. And now, Cliaton of to day has a Bar, though not 
so numerous, is probably as gifted as its brilliant ante types of 
the first and second generations, and to-day the Methodists, 
Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Roman Cathulic-s (I 
name them in the order of their coming) have each a handsome, 
roomy and commodious house of worship. And in proof that 
educational development is keeping even step with religious de- 
velopment, there are in Clinton to-day a pros|)erons and growing 
boys' school in which yonihs are thoroughly giounded in all the 
walks of knowledge leading to a complete collegiate course of 
study, — and an institute for girls, with more than a hundied pu- 
pils, who are being as thorougly educated in all the ornamental 
and ust-ful branches of knowledge, as they could be in better en- 
dowed, and more pretentious seats of education. 

In a closing paragraph I desire to submit a few additional 
remarks essential to round off a faithful Sketch of the Town 
OF Clinton. 

East and south of Clinton, there are at least 100,000 acres 
of cleared fields and forests now idle, waste and unproductive 
for want of a sufficient labor supply. All this area forms a back 
country naturally tributary to Clinton commerce, in which Clin- 
ton has no competitors; when all these broad and fertile acres 
are stimulated to their highest productive capacity by intelligent 
farming and abundant labor and capital, Clinton will become the 
"eutrepoi" for a fifty thousand bale crop, which will surely at- 
tract mercantile and manufacturing capital and enterprise. The 
distinbution of the contents of the Western granaries and smoke 
houses to a laboring population sufficient to make fifteen thou- 
sand bales, will add enormously to our commercial ventures. 

A centre for the distribution of such large quantities of raw 
material will, as surely as the Pole attracts the needle, attract 
capital to start a cotton seed oil mill, a compress, and a first-class 
cotton factory, for Clinton will then furnish water fuel and raw 
material to run machinery cheap and keep machinery well fed 
all the year round. 

"When commerce swells, when agriculture multiplies, when 
the town is alive with steam whistles and the ceaseless run of 
busy lucrative machinery, with a lailroad equal to all its needs, 
the dream of its founders and the hopes of this witer will have 
been fulfilled. 

H. SKIP WITH. 



S. LAMBERT. W. LANDRY 



LAMBERT & LANDRY, 



Insurance Agency 

THE LARGEST IN THE CITY. 

INSURANCE IN ALL ITS BRANCHES. 

THE STRONGEST FIRE COMPANIES IN THE WORLD. 

THE STRONGEST LIFE COMPANIES IN THE WORLD. 



Our Patrons Well SatlsUed. 

:W ONES COHSTAt(rLY COMING IN, 

Others Cordially Invited, 



BATON ROUGE, LA. 



''east I'ELlCtANA PAS't AND tftESEt^T.'' 37 



"SUPPLEMENTARY SKETCH OF CLINTON." 

Since the foregoing appeared in "The Southern Watchman"' 
of December 19th, 1890, an old neighbor and friend who is like 
myself ou the shady side of seventy, has pointed out a number 
of notable omissions. 

First. In my sketch of the educational advantages of 
Clinton it was an important, and unpardonable omission not to 
mention the Finishing school for young ladies' of that renowned 
and beloved educator Mrs. Sallie Munday, which was founded as 
an Academy many years ago by the mother of Admiral Gherarde, 
and which under Mrs. Munday 's able superintendericy has grown 
in popularity and usefulnes, until, its capacity is heavily taxed to 
give proper attention to the large number of boarders and day 
scholars applying for admission. 

Second. The names of many of the lawyers who graced 
the early Clinton bar, and who have since made famous names 
and National reputations were omitted in my incomplete and 
hasty enumeration of the leading spirits of the early Clinton bar. 

Among those omitted were General E. W. Ripley, who after 
having perfected the system of defences for the Louisiana 
cousts, retired from the army, with a bullet through his neck 
received at the famous and bloody battle of Bridgewater; and 
resumed the practice of his profession (the law), and in partner- 
ship with Charles M. Conrad afterwards Senator and Cabinet 
Minister, made Clinton his field of professional efifort. There 
too, old James Turner, renowned for his adroit methods of sav- 
ing criminals from deserved punishment, and A. D. M. Haralson, 
the States briUiant prosecuting oflScer, used to come out to Clin- 
ton to shiver lances with such expert fencers as U. S. Senator 
Solomon W. Downes. Joseph E. Johnson and Isaac Johnson, 
afterwards Governor and District Judge. In the midst of this 
throng of bright, aspiring intellects, might be seen the burly 
towering form of James M. Bradford, who started the first n^^ws- 
paper West of the AUeghanys at the "Falls of the Ohio," the 
voice of Mr. Bradford, when pleading a case was as loud as 
the voice of Mahomet's, uncle in the midst of the battles around 
Mecca; from this distinguishing characteristic he obtained the 
nickname of "Bull Bradford." 

Third . Reuben Washington Short, adopted son of Lund 
Washington, was not killed at Kellertown, as was stated in the 
original sketch; he only lost the plated ruffles on his shirt bosom 
instead of his life. 



a.: 

38 "east FELlClAKA tAST AND PRESENT." 

Fourth. James Holmes; who married a daughter of the 
grand old Pioneer Baptist Missionary, Ezra Courtney; was part 
owner with Bostwick of the site of Clinton, and George Sebor 
was their architect and constructor. 

Fifth. Thomas W. Scott, a farmer, was appointed by 
Governor Thomas Boiling Robertson, the first Parish Judge, 
instead of Sheriff as he petitioned to be, always upright, modest 
and conscientous, he had written, and mailed a letter of de- 
clination, to the governor, but his friends overruled him and 
influenced him to accept an office, which was never more satis- 
factory filled, than it was by the honest unpretending farmer. 

Sixth. I omitted to include in my museum of "antiques" 
the small brick building in the Court house square, which is 
now the office of the Mayor of Clinton, but which, until the 
new Court house was finished in 1838, served as the office of 
the Parish Judge and Clerk. 

H. SKIPWITH. 




Lb My '09